Diseases & Conditions
Sudden inﬂammation of the airways that connect the windpipe (trachea) to the lungs that produces a persistent cough with quantities of sputum. Attacks usually occur in the winter among smokers, babies, the elderly, and those with lung disease.
Acute bronchitis is usually a complication of a viral infection (such as a cold or the ﬂu), although it can also be caused by air pollution. A bacterial infection also may lead to acute bronchitis, or it may follow an attack of acute bronchitis brought on by other causes.
As the bronchial tubes swell and become congested with pus, symptoms include wheezing, breathlessness, and a persistent cough that produces yellow or green phlegm. There also may be pain behind the breastbone and a fever.
Humidifying the lungs will ease symptoms, either by using a humidiﬁer or by inhaling steam. Drinking plenty of ﬂuids also helps bring up phlegm. Most acute bronchitis clears up on its own without further treatment. If there is a suspicion of an underlying bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed.
Pleurisy or PNEUMONIA may rarely occur. A physician should be consulted if any of the following symptoms appear:
• severe breathlessness
• no improvement after three days
• blood is coughed up
• fever rises above 101°F
• patient has underlying lung disease