Difference Between Acute and Chronic Bronchitis

By: | Updated: Feb-19, 2022
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Bronchitis is a condition that results in inflammation of the bronchi, the large airways that carry air to and from the lungs. People with bronchitis may experience coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing.

You might have heard about the terms acute and chronic bronchitis. But what’s the difference between them?

In this article, we will compare the two types of bronchitis and highlight the key differences.

Acute Bronchitis Chronic Bronchitis
Short-term condition. Long-term condition.
Caused by a viral infection. Caused by long-term exposure to irritants such as cigarette smoke.
Is usually less severe than chronic bronchitis, and it is more common in young adults and children. Is usually more severe.
Can be treated by over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms. Need to take prescription medications to control their condition.

Difference Between Acute and Chronic Bronchitis

The main difference between acute and chronic bronchitis is that acute bronchitis is a short-term condition while chronic bronchitis is a long-term condition. Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection, while chronic bronchitis is caused by long-term exposure to irritants such as cigarette smoke.

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Acute bronchitis is usually less severe than chronic bronchitis, and it is more common in young adults and children. Symptoms of acute bronchitis usually resolve within a week or two, but chronic bronchitis can cause long-term health problems.

People with chronic bronchitis are more likely to experience respiratory infections, and they are also at risk of developing lung cancer and other serious health conditions.

Adults with acute bronchitis can take over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms, but people with chronic bronchitis may need to take prescription medications to control their condition.

For children, treatment for bronchitis will depend on their age and the severity of their condition. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics for children with acute bronchitis, but for children with chronic bronchitis, treatment will focus on managing the symptoms and preventing further damage to the lungs.

In bronchitis patients, their lungs produce more mucus as the body’s natural reaction to the infection. In acute bronchitis, this mucus production is generally short-term and the person’s immune system is usually able to clear the infection on its own.

In chronic bronchitis, the person’s immune system becomes less effective at clearing the infection, and the excess mucus production can cause long-term damage to the lungs.

This can lead to difficulty breathing, respiratory infections, and other serious health problems. It is recommended that people with chronic bronchitis quit smoking and avoid exposure to other known irritants.

There is no cure for chronic bronchitis, but treatment can help to control symptoms and prevent further damage to the lungs.

In general, acute bronchitis is easier to treat than chronic bronchitis, and it usually responds well to over-the-counter medications. However, it is important to seek medical help if you develop symptoms of bronchitis, as it can lead to more serious health problems if left untreated.

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