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What are the symptoms of bronchitis?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

The main symptom of both acute and chronic bronchitis is a cough that usually produces mucus or phlegm from the bronchial tubes, which are the airways that connect your windpipe (trachea) and your lungs. Chest pain, wheezing, shortness of breath, fatigue and a fever are also common symptoms of acute bronchitis. Though most of these symptoms rarely last longer than 10 days, the cough may linger for up to several weeks. Acute bronchitis is often preceded by a cold or the flu. In the case of chronic bronchitis, which is more serious, the cough, wheezing and chest discomfort last a long time (at least three months a year and two years in a row) and the cough, often called "smoker's cough," can produce a lot of mucus.

Signs and symptoms of bronchitis, a condition that occurs when the bronchial tubes in the lungs become inflamed, include:

  • cough that produces mucus (may be without mucus the first few days)
  • soreness in the chest
  • fatigue
  • mild headache
  • mild body aches
  • low-grade fever (less than 102°F)
  • watery eyes
  • sore throat
Dr. Brian D. Gelbman, MD
Pulmonary Disease Specialist

Bronchitis is an infection of the airways; main symptoms include a cough (with or without sputum), wheezing, fever, shortness of breath and chest tightness. Watch pulmonologist Brian Gelbman, MD, discuss the symptoms that could point to bronchitis.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.