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What should I know about bronchitis?

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If you recently had a cold that turned into a nagging cough, you might have acute bronchitis. (In medical terms, “acute” means conditions that come on quickly and last a short time).

Bronchitis happens when your bronchial tubes, which carry oxygen from your windpipe to your lungs, become inflamed. The lining of the tubes makes mucus, which makes your cough worse.

The condition can also cause wheezing and make it hard to catch your breath.

To know for sure whether your recent illness is acute bronchitis and not an allergy or other problem, you should see your doctor.

While many cases go away on their own, others require treatment.

SOURCES:

National Institutes of Health -- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “What are the signs and symptoms of bronchitis?” “What is bronchitis?” “Living with bronchitis?”

American Lung Association: “Diagnosing and Treating Acute Bronchitis.”

Mayo Clinic: “Bronchitis: Test and Diagnosis,” “Bronchitis: Treatment.”

National Council on Aging: “Acute Vs. Chronic Conditions: What’s the Difference?”

Reviewed by Neha Pathak on December 06, 2016

SOURCES:

National Institutes of Health -- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “What are the signs and symptoms of bronchitis?” “What is bronchitis?” “Living with bronchitis?”

American Lung Association: “Diagnosing and Treating Acute Bronchitis.”

Mayo Clinic: “Bronchitis: Test and Diagnosis,” “Bronchitis: Treatment.”

National Council on Aging: “Acute Vs. Chronic Conditions: What’s the Difference?”

Reviewed by Neha Pathak on December 06, 2016

NEXT QUESTION:

How do I know whether I have acute or chronic bronchitis?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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