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Acute bronchitis is an infection in the lining of the of the air tubes connected in the lungs. It is normally cause by a virus and can often happen after a cold or flu.

Smoking increases your chances of getting the infection.

It usually lasts between 7-10 days, but can go on for 3 weeks.


  • Persistent chesty cough
  • Breathlessness or exertion
  • Coughing up green or yellow sputum
  • Wheeziness
  • High temperatures
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite 

When to see the Doctor

  • If your symptoms have not improved after 7-10 days or 3 weeks

When to seek urgent medical advice

  • Persistent Fever (temperature of 38*C)
  • Sharp pain when breathing in
  • Cough up blood stained mucus
  • You are breathless at rest
  • If other people notice you become confused or disorientated
  • Your heart rate is faster than normal 


  • Viruses are the main cause
  • Temporary inflammatory of the wind pipe and airways
  • Thick mucus

Do I need antibiotics?

The use of antibiotics is not recommended for bronchitis because:

  • It is caused by a virus
  • Antibiotics will not get you any better any quicker and may experience side effects
  • Over-using antibiotics for minor ailments makes them less effective for life-threatening conditions

What treatment should I take?

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Take paracetamol or ibuprofen if you have a high temperature
  • Stop smoking

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