What Is Bronchitis, What Are The Symptoms, And How Is It Treated?

Question: What Is bronchitis, what are the symptoms, and how is it treated?

Answer: Bronchitis is an inflammation of your bronchi, and your bronchi are the large passages from your mouth that lead to your lungs. The most common cause of bronchitis is a viral illness, which is most typically caused by the virus that causes the common cold. People have different degrees of bronchitis.

It usually does not cause shortness of breath or other symptoms; it really produces a cough and you often will cough up some phlegm, or mucus. Rarely does it ever require treatment with antibiotics because the vast majority of patients who have bronchitis are having bronchitis due to a common cold. It's self-limited, it usually lasts three of four days and should go away without any treatment whatsoever.

Richard Zane, M.D., Vice Chairman, Emergency Medicine, Brigham and Women?s Hospital Play


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