What are the symptoms of acute bronchitis?

Symptoms of acute bronchitis are different for each person. The most common symptom is a nagging cough that can last for weeks. The cough is usually productive, which means you bring up sputum (mucus). This material can range in color from clear to green. Acute bronchitis doesn't usually cause a fever, but it can.
Acute bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi, the air passages or tubes to the lungs. Symptoms include:
  • A fever of 100 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit
  • An irritating, dry, painful cough that starts to produce small amounts of white or light yellow sputum after two or three days; at this stage the fever often recedes, and the pain from coughing diminishes. If your sputum is yellow-green or green in color, you may have a bacterial infection.
  • Even after the condition improves, a slight cough commonly remains for another week or two. Most cases of acute bronchitis simply represent continued inflammation from viral infection, rather than a bacterial complication. Many people benefit from short-term use of an inhaled bronchodilator such as albuterol.
You usually don't need antibiotics, regardless of how long your cough has lasted. However, if you have a cough for three weeks or more, you should be carefully evaluated to rule out pneumonia or bacterial bronchitis. If you are producing green secretions when you cough, you may have a bacterial infection and need antibiotics.

Continue Learning about Lung Disease and Respiratory System

Lung Disease and Respiratory System

Lung Disease and Respiratory System

Diseases, pollutants and genetics can affect your respiratory health. The simple cold - which is caused by more than 200 different viruses - inflames the upper respiratory tract, resulting in a cough, runny nose and sneezing. A mo...

re severe cough combined with mucus is a sign of bronchitis, where the membranes lining the bronchial tubes become inflamed. The inflammatory lung disease asthma affects more than 20 million people, making airways constrict when exposed to irritants like dust, pet dander and cigarette smoke. Pneumonia, another inflammation of the lungs, can occur because of a bacterial or viral infection. People suffering from cystic fibrosis, an inherited lung disease, frequently battle bacterial infections and airways clogged with thick and sticky mucus.

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.