Bronchitis (disorder),chest cold, acute Bronchitis, acute bronchitis and bronchiolitis, chronic bronchitis, CI - Chest infection, recurrent wheezy bronchitis, Chest infection,


Bronchitis is an infection of the main airways of the lungs (bronchi), causing them to become irritated and inflamed.

The bronchi branch off on either side of your windpipe (trachea). They lead to smaller and smaller airways inside your lungs, known as bronchioles.


The walls of the bronchi produce mucus to trap dust and other particles that could otherwise cause irritation.

Most cases of bronchitis develop when an infection irritates and inflames the bronchi, causing them to produce more mucus than usual. Your body tries to shift this extra mucus through Cough .

Bronchitis can be described as being either:

  • acute bronchitis temporary inflammation of the airways, causing a cough and mucus production, lasting up to three weeks; acute bronchitis can affect people of all ages but mostly affects children under the age of five; it's more common in winter and often develops following a common cold , sore throat or flu
  • chronic bronchitis a daily productive cough that lasts for three months of the year and for at least two years in a row; chronic bronchitis is one of a number of lung conditions, including emphysema , that are collectively known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); it mostly affects adults over 40

It's important that you stop smoking if you smoke and you have bronchitis.

Cigarette smoke and the chemicals in cigarettes make bronchitis worse and increase your risk of developing chronic bronchitis and COPD.

Your GP can help you give up smoking . You can also call the NHS Smokefree helpline for advice on 0300 123 1044 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm and Saturday and Sunday, 11am to 4pm).

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 30 Aug 2016