Acute Bronchitis

Bronchitis is when the airways that extend from the windpipe into the lungs get red, puffy, and painful (inflamed). Bronchitis often causes thick spit (mucus) to develop. This leads to a cough. A cough is the most common symptom of bronchitis.

ExitCare ImageIn acute bronchitis, the condition usually begins suddenly and goes away over time (usually in 2 weeks). Smoking, allergies, and asthma can make bronchitis worse. Repeated episodes of bronchitis may cause more lung problems.


  • Rest.

  • Drink enough fluids to keep your pee (urine) clear or pale yellow (unless you need to limit fluids as told by your doctor).

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines as told by your doctor.

  • Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. These can make bronchitis worse. If you are a smoker, think about using nicotine gum or skin patches. Quitting smoking will help your lungs heal faster.

  • Reduce the chance of getting bronchitis again by:

  • Washing your hands often.

  • Avoiding people with cold symptoms.

  • Trying not to touch your hands to your mouth, nose, or eyes.

  • Follow up with your doctor as told.


Your symptoms do not improve after 1 week of treatment. Symptoms include:

  • Cough.

  • Fever.

  • Coughing up thick spit.

  • Body aches.

  • Chest congestion.

  • Chills.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Sore throat.


  • You have an increased fever.

  • You have chills.

  • You have severe shortness of breath.

  • You have bloody thick spit (sputum).

  • You throw up (vomit) often.

  • You lose too much body fluid (dehydration).

  • You have a severe headache.

  • You faint.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.