How Long Does Bronchitis Last?

February 19, 2024

How Long Does Bronchitis Last?
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The term “bronchitis” refers to inflammation and mucus buildup in the trachea and bronchi, the airways that lead to the lungs. As your body attempts to eliminate the mucus, you get a persistent cough. You may experience a two-week or longer cough. Most often, a virus causes acute bronchitis, which resolves on its own. While treatable, chronic bronchitis never truly goes away.

What is Bronchitis?

Your trachea, or windpipe, sends air to your lungs through your bronchial tubes. Mucus accumulation may occur when these tubes become irritated. Breathlessness, mild temperature, and coughing are some of the signs of this illness, which is known as bronchitis.

One can have acute or chronic bronchitis.

How long does Bronchitis last?

Whether an episode of bronchitis is acute or chronic can affect how long it lasts. The duration of it can range from a few days to several months or more.

The bronchial tubes, which are the airways leading to the lungs, become inflamed and swollen when someone has bronchitis. Both adults and children can get the illness.

Whether a person has acute or chronic bronchitis determines how long it takes for them to heal from the illness. When you have acute bronchitis, you should usually feel better in a week or two, although you can experience lethargy and a persistent cough for up to three weeks.

The viruses and bacteria that cause bronchitis typically enter your system two to six days before you experience the symptoms of a cold.When you first become ill, you may experience symptoms similar to a cold or flu for several days to up to ten. While some symptoms could go away, you might have a persistent cough that lasts for a few weeks.

What are the types of Bronchitis?

Bronchitis is of two types – acute and chronic bronchitis. Similar symptoms are seen in both acute and chronic bronchitis, which include inflammation of the airways. They do, however, also differ in a few ways.

Acute Bronchitis: The cause of acute bronchitis is usually a viral illness that strikes rapidly. Less than 10% of instances of acute bronchitis are caused by bacteria.A viral illness, like a cold, can originate in the upper respiratory tract and progress to the bronchial tubes. Though the disease is transient, symptoms could last for one to two weeks.

For most people, acute bronchitis does not result in long-term breathing difficulties. On the other hand, complications are more likely in persons with immune system deficiencies or respiratory conditions like asthma.

Chronic Bronchitis – Chronic refers to an extended illness.  In medical terms, bronchitis is classified as chronic when a patient has coughed up mucus for at least three months of the year for two consecutive years.

Smoking cigarettes is the primary cause of chronic bronchitis. Smoking irritates the respiratory system and causes the lungs to produce excessive mucus. Airflow blockages result from the increasing mucus.Chronic bronchitis has the potential to cause long-term lung damage, including diminished lung function.

What are the symptoms of Bronchitis?

Bronchitis can cause the following symptoms:

  •  productive cough
  • a sore throat from hacking
  • weariness
  • stiffness or congestion in the chest
  •  wheezing

Acute bronchitis typically manifests as abrupt symptoms. The symptoms of chronic bronchitis typically develop over time and start out slowly.

What are the causes for Bronchitis?

Typically, a virus similar to those that cause the flu or the common cold causes bronchitis. However, bacterial infections can sometimes be the cause of it. Additionally, exposure to lung irritants like smoking, dust, fumes, or air pollution may increase your risk of developing bronchitis.

How to diagnose Bronchitis?

Bronchitis often resolves on its own, without any treatment. However, your doctor will begin with a physical examination if you visit them due to acute bronchitis symptoms.

As you breathe, your doctor will listen to your lungs to look for symptoms like wheezing. Inquiries regarding your coughs, such as frequency and mucus production, will also be made. Inquiries concerning recent viral infections or colds, as well as any other respiratory issues, may also be made.

A chest X-ray could be recommended if your doctor is unsure about your diagnosis. This test assists your physician in diagnosing pneumonia.

What are the risk factors for Bronchitis?

Your risk of acute bronchitis is increased by the following factors:

  • inhaling smoke from cigarettes, especially secondhand smoke
  • unable to fight off infections or a compromised immune system
  • frequent exposure to allergens such as dust or chemical fumes
  • absence of flu, pneumonia, and whooping cough immunizations
  • age greater than fifty

When to see a doctor?

Acute bronchitis typically resolves in a few weeks after starting. That being said, there are times when visiting a physician is beneficial.A person has to consult a physician if they:

  • have a temperature of 100.4°F or higher
  • symptoms that do not go away after three weeks
  • a persistent cough with red mucus
  • frequent episodes of bronchitis
  • wheezing


The duration of bronchitis is contingent upon the nature of the illness: acute or chronic. The typical duration of acute bronchitis is 3 to 10 days, but the cough may persist for several weeks. Months can pass with persistent bronchitis, and flare-ups are common.

Whether bronchitis is acute or chronic affects how it is treated as well. The majority of people recover from acute bronchitis without any problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is bronchitis contagious?

Long before you have symptoms, bronchitis can spread to others within hours of contact, particularly if it’s viral. For a few days, if not a week, you will remain contagious during the cold or flu sickness phase.

How can you tell when a case of bronchitis is improving?

You may be unable to do much and feel miserable for up to a week if you have bronchitis. You might become exhausted easily due to the cough, especially at night. When you feel more energised and your chest congestion lessens, you will know you are on the right track. You’ll start to feel better even though your cough will be longer and sound worse.

Can someone contract bronchitis more than once?

It is true that acute bronchitis can recur multiple times. To ensure that you recover completely, make sure you receive lots of sleep. Seek medical attention if your bronchitis persists for longer than three weeks.

Disclaimer: We recommend consulting a Doctor before taking any action based on the above shared information.


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