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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Adult and Senior Health Acute Bronchitis

Acute Bronchitis

Acute inflammation of the air passages within the lung. Most cases of acute bronchitis disappear within few days without lasting effects. Usually occurs after a sinus infection or common cold. Virus etiology is the most common cause of acute bronchitis.


  • Viruses that cause colds
  • Bacteria
  • Tobacco/ cigarette smoke
  • Stomach acids that persistently back up into food pipe


  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Feeling of constriction or burning in the chest
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Fever with chills
  • Malaise

Seek medical advice when

  • Severe cough interfering with sleep
  • Repeated attacks of bronchitis
  • Fever beyond 4 to 5 days
  • Associated heart or lung problem
  • Coughing up blood or rust colored sputum


  • Complete blood count
  • Chest X-ray
  • Lung function test - spirometry (FEV, FEV/VC, PEFR)


  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema


  • Avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Avoid exposure to irritants and air pollutants
  • Use face masks around other people who are coughing and sneezing

Self care at home

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) to reduce fever and muscle aches
  • Avoid exposure to irritants such as tobacco smoke
  • Cool mist vaporizer/humidifier to reduce bronchial irritation
  • Steam inhalation


  • Antibiotics will not cure viral illness
  • Oxygen by mask 4-5 lts
  • Nebulization with bronchodilators (salbutamol and ipratropium bromide)
  • Medications to bring out cough/expectorants- Ambroxyl, Guaiphenasin, carbo- cysteine
  • Bronchodilators to open the airways and to reduce the airway resistance- Deriphylline, Aminophylline, Salbutamol
  • Antibiotics in bacterial infection
  • Medications to suppress dry irritating allergic cough- Dexmethorphan