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How Long Can Bronchitis Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 2 – 3 Weeks 

Various factors can determine how long bronchitis will last. This includes things like the severity of the illness, the age and overall health of the individual, and what treatment is received.

In most cases, bronchitis will clear up within 2-3 weeks with minimal intervention. However, there are some cases where it can persist for several months or even longer. 

If one is struggling with bronchitis, consult the doctor to better understand how long it is likely to last. With proper treatment and rest, most people will recover quickly without lasting negative effects.

How Long Can Bronchitis Last?

Type Duration
Bronchitis2 to 3 weeks
Acute bronchitis10 to 14 days

Bronchitis is a respiratory infection that affects the tubes that carry air to and from your lungs. Bronchitis can be caused by several things, including viruses, bacteria, and environmental irritants. 

Most cases of bronchitis are mild and resolve on their own within 2 weeks or three. However, bronchitis can last for several weeks or even months in some cases. 

If one is experiencing symptoms of bronchitis that persist for more than two weeks, be sure to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

In severe cases, bronchitis can lead to death. Treatment for bronchitis focuses on relieving symptoms and includes rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

In some cases, one may require intravenous antibiotics or hospitalization. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment of bronchitis are important to prevent complications.

Symptoms include coughing, chest congestion, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Treatment typically involves antibiotics and over-the-counter medications to help ease symptoms.

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Symptoms can be more severe in seniors, who may experience them for longer. These symptoms might include fast breathing and confused thinking. Elderly people may also be at a greater risk of developing complications, such as pneumonia.

Treatment depends on the cause of bronchitis. If a virus causes it, antibiotics may be prescribed. If it’s caused by bacteria or fungus, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medications. 

If it’s caused by environmental factors such as smoke or pollution, doctors may recommend measures to reduce exposure to these factors.

Why Would Bronchitis Last For So Long?

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi, the large airways leading to the lungs. Bronchitis can be acute (lasting less than three weeks) or chronic (lasting more than three weeks).

The most common cause of bronchitis is a respiratory infection, such as a cold or the flu. However, bronchitis can also be caused by inhaling smoke, dust, or chemicals inhaling irritants.

Most cases of bronchitis resolve within two weeks without any treatment. However, if one has a cough that persists for more than two weeks, or if one has difficulty breathing, they should consult their doctor.

Some problems can arise due to the prolonged coughing and irritations associated with bronchitis. Extended or severe coughing fits can irritate and harm the tissues in the throat, causing bleeding and damage.

Bacterial lung infections can cause acute bronchitis, which is less contagious to healthy people but more probable among those with a weakened immune system, little ones, or old folks.

Chronic bronchitis is not inherently contagious. However, if you have chronic and acute bronchitis, you may convey acute bronchitis to another person since they can coexist.

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Cigarette smoking is also one of the most common causes of chronic bronchitis. Smoking causes airway damage and overexpression of mucus in the lungs. The thickened mucus resulting from the increased mucus causes airflow blockages.

Conclusion

Although it is better to get treated with the help of a medical professional, there are several home remedies one can follow to get better. Some home remedies include getting plenty of sleep and drinking lots of liquid. Using a humidifier or steam to reduce the mucus is also a good idea.

Ginger and garlic may promote healing and reduce irritation. Make sure to seek help if symptoms like coughing up blood, trouble breathing, temperature above 100.4 degrees persist. On the other hand, acute bronchitis is a long-term condition that needs ongoing treatment, sometimes for several weeks.

References

  1. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmcp061493
  2. https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD000245.pub3/abstract
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