content of this page

1- Introduction

2- Physiological  Overview

3- Symptoms

4- Treatment


Bronchitis refers to inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which are the airways that carry air to and from the lungs. This inflammation can be acute or chronic and is typically caused by viral infections, although bacterial infections, irritants, or underlying health conditions can also contribute. Here’s an overview of bronchitis including its symptoms and treatment

Physiological Overview

    • Viral Infection:

      • Acute bronchitis is commonly triggered by viral infections, such as influenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), rhinoviruses, or adenoviruses.
      • Viruses invade the respiratory epithelial cells lining the bronchial tubes, leading to inflammation.
    • Inflammatory Response:

      • The initial viral infection triggers an immune response in the bronchial tubes.
      • Immune cells, particularly neutrophils and lymphocytes, are recruited to the site of infection.
    • Mucus Production:

      • Inflammatory mediators released during the immune response stimulate goblet cells and submucosal glands in the bronchial tubes to produce excess mucus.
      • Mucus production increases, leading to congestion and obstruction of the airways.
    • Airway Obstruction:

      • Accumulation of mucus, along with swelling of the bronchial walls due to inflammation, narrows the airway lumen.
      • This obstruction impairs airflow and contributes to symptoms such as cough and difficulty breathing.
    • Cough Reflex:

      • Irritation of the bronchial tubes by mucus and inflammatory substances triggers the cough reflex.
      • Initially, the cough may be dry (non-productive), but as mucus production increases, it becomes productive (producing mucus).
    • Clinical Manifestations:

      • Cough: Begins as dry and irritating, progressing to productive cough as mucus accumulates.
      • Sore Throat: Due to inflammation extending from the bronchial tubes into the throat.
      • Mild Fever: Often accompanies viral infections, reflecting the body’s immune response.
      • Fatigue: Resulting from the body’s effort to fight the infection and from disrupted sleep due to coughing.
      • Shortness of Breath: Usually mild and related to airway obstruction and inflammation.


  • Acute Bronchitis:

    • Cough: Initially dry and may later produce clear, yellow, or greenish mucus.
    • Sore Throat: Often accompanies the cough.
    • Fatigue: Feeling tired or rundown.
    • Mild Fever: Sometimes present, especially with viral infections.
    • Shortness of Breath: Typically mild and transient.
  • Chronic Bronchitis:

    • Persistent Cough: Produces large amounts of mucus regularly.
    • Shortness of Breath: Often worsens with physical activity.
    • Wheezing: High-pitched whistling sound when breathing.
    • Chest Discomfort: Tightness or discomfort in the chest.


  • Acute Bronchitis:

    • Symptomatic Relief: Rest, stay hydrated, and use a humidifier or steam to ease breathing.
    • Over-the-Counter Medications: Non-prescription cough suppressants or expectorants may help relieve symptoms.
    • Pain and Fever Relief: Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used to reduce fever and relieve discomfort.
    • Avoid Irritants: Quit smoking and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke or other respiratory irritants.
  • Chronic Bronchitis:

    • Smoking Cessation: The most critical step in managing chronic bronchitis.
    • Bronchodilators: Medications that help open the airways, making it easier to breathe (e.g., albuterol).
    • Inhaled Corticosteroids: Reduce airway inflammation and mucus production.
    • Pulmonary Rehabilitation: Programs that combine exercise, education, and support to improve quality of life.
Scroll to Top