When many think of “bronchitis,” they think of one type of respiratory illness that affects the airways that lead to the lungs. While they’re not wrong, bronchitis is actually a bit more complicated than that.
There are two types of this respiratory illness: chronic and acute. Acute bronchitis is more common and more treatable, while chronic bronchitis is long-lasting and can lead to more severe breathing problems.
Our AFC Urgent Care Indian Trail team share some further helpful information on bronchitis below, so keep reading!
What Causes Acute and Chronic Bronchitis?
Acute bronchitis is normally caused by an infection that involves the bronchi, and the most common types of these infections are viral (like influenza). It may also be caused by a bacterial infection, or by physical or chemical agents that are breathed in, like dusts, allergens and strong fumes, including those from chemical cleaning compounds or tobacco smoke.
Chronic bronchitis is not caused by a virus or bacteria. Most experts agree that the main cause of chronic bronchitis is cigarette smoking. Air pollution and work environment can also play a role, and especially so if you also smoke.
Common Symptoms of Both Acute and Chronic Bronchitis
- Production of mucus (sputum), which can be clear, white, yellowish-gray or green in color—rarely, it may be streaked with blood
- Shortness of breath
- Slight fever and chills
- Chest discomfort
Which Type of Bronchitis Is More Dangerous?
Chronic bronchitis is more dangerous. Chronic bronchitis is a serious, ongoing condition, and many people who have chronic bronchitis also have emphysema. Together, these conditions are called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is a disease that gets worse over time, makes it hard to breathe and requires regular treatment.
Acute bronchitis, on the other hand, is much more treatable and short-lived. Most symptoms of acute bronchitis last for up to two weeks, and a cough can last for up to eight weeks in some people.
When to See a Doctor For Your Cough
- Lasts more than three weeks
- Prevents you from sleeping
- Is accompanied by fever higher than 100.4 F (38 C)
- Produces discolored mucus
- Produces blood
- Is associated with wheezing or shortness of breath
Are you dealing with a cough that’s making you feel concerned? If so, our AFC Urgent Care Indian Trail team can help, so don’t hesitate to stop by today.