How Long Should I Be Out Of Work With Acute Bronchitis (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 2 – 4 Weeks

Bronchitis in layman’s language is a type of lung infection. It is characterized by the presence of inflammation in the lining of the bronchial tube present inside the human body. The bronchial tube does the work of carrying air to and fro from the lungs. It is an airborne respiratory disorder that can spread by coughing or sneezing, by saliva, by coming in contact with a contaminated belonging of the infected person, or by direct skin-to-skin contact.



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Acute and chronic are the two main types of bronchitis any person can suffer from. Acute bronchitis, also called chest cold, is not too severe and often ameliorates by itself. It is typically caused due to viral respiratory infection. Acute bronchitis is a short-term condition that often resolves in a few days or 2 – 4 weeks. It is usually self-treatable and self-diagnosable. In the case of acute bronchitis, lab tests are quite rarely needed.

However, the cough due to thickened mucus and symptoms like shortness of breath can last up to even 8 weeks in some people. Chronic bronchitis on the other hand is a situation that lasts longer than acute bronchitis and is much serious compared to acute bronchitis.


How Long Should I Be Out Of Work With Acute Bronchitis?

An after-effect of a common cold or flu can result in acute bronchitis. Hence, it is known as a chest cold as the virus causing acute bronchitis and most colds and flu are the same. Sometimes, such a condition may also be caused due to smoking, proximity to dust, stringent fumes and aromas, etc. This condition can become chronic in people already suffering from any heart or lung condition. A common disease that people suffer after bronchitis is Pneumonia.

The symptoms of acute bronchitis might often clash with symptoms of other diseases. Thus, one must visit their medical professional for an accurate diagnosis. When acute bronchitis does not cure on its own even after a few weeks or when the condition worsens, it might be progressing towards chronic bronchitis or pneumonia which are more severe than acute bronchitis.

A person suffering from acute bronchitis might experience symptoms like clogged chest, shortness of breath, sneezing, coughing with thick mucus of unpleasant colors, etc. The person’s body might also be physically tired with body aches and chills, runny nose due to cold, low fever, and a sore throat. In such a condition any person would not be able to concentrate on one’s work and thus, it is essential to get sufficient rest to heal faster and be fully energized with vigor after recovery.

Thus, as the typical time for most people to recover from acute bronchitis is 2 – 4 weeks, people are recommended to be out of work at least 2 – 3 weeks if suffering from acute bronchitis to give the body appropriate and sufficient time to heal and recovery at the earliest.

Acute bronchitis2 – 4 weeks
Chronic bronchitis4 weeks or more

Why Should I Be Out Of Work For So Long With Acute Bronchitis?

Generally, the bacteria or virus that cause a cold, fever, or flu in a person is responsible for causing acute bronchitis. Smoking cigarettes and thereby inhaling tobacco smoke is the most common reason behind bronchitis in people. People with asthma problems or with a weak immune system are in constant danger of contracting bronchitis.

As the cause of both flu and cold are often the same, acute bronchitis generally develops a few days later one catches a cold or any other similar condition. Bronchitis often starts with only cough or sneeze but can gradually become severe.

People generally recover in 2 – 4 weeks but the coughing can last even longer. Thus, one must take good care of one’s own self to recover as fast as possible. But when the conditions worsen beyond what is considered normal, then bronchitis becomes chronic. Such a condition can make one’s lungs bleed and can cause immense discomfort. A smoker’s cough is one of the many signs of bronchitis that has become severe.

One should seek medical health immediately if bronchitis causes severe chest pain, does not let one sleep peacefully at night, causes high fever, or lasts longer than usual.


Acute bronchitis is a medical condition wherein the tubes carrying air to the lungs, called bronchial tubes, become swollen or inflamed. This makes it extremely difficult for the person to breathe as the respiratory tract becomes narrow due to thickened mucus clogging the breathing passage.

However, acute bronchitis is a much less severe condition as compared to chronic bronchitis that often gets resolved in about 2 – 4 weeks. People with acute bronchitis have fewer problems with their recovery and can get back to work as soon as they are healed completely after a few weeks.


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