The Symptoms of Acute Bronchitis

by on January 25th, 2011
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What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of acute bronchitis are often like those of a common cold. They include a slight fever, cough, tickling in the back of the throat, malaise, and sometimes chills. (NLM) In an examination with a doctor, your symptoms will be evaluated for how long they have been present and if they can be ruled out as symptoms of pneumonia.

Some research has been done regarding acute bronchitis and its symptoms. ” . . .one study indicated that within a month after the initial visit, up to 20% of patients had reconsulted their physicians because of persistent or recurrent symptoms.” (Wenzel and Fowler)

However, symptoms alone are not enough to make a diagnosis. In addition to the symptoms of acute bronchitis, a test such as a chest x-ray must be used to rule out other illnesses such as whooping cough and to confirm it is indeed acute bronchitis.

The Causes

What causes the symptoms and development of acute bronchitis? The risk for getting acute bronchitis is higher in those who have had a recent bout with a viral respiratory infection or illness as well as in those who smoke or have asthma. According to a 2006 New England Journal of Medicine report by Dr Richard P. Wenzel and Dr Alpha A Fowler, III, 5% of adults each year get acute bronchitis. The numbers are higher in winter and fall than they are in spring and summer.

Treatments for Acute Bronchitis

What can be done to treat the symptoms? Acute bronchitis does not usually respond to treatment with antibiotics, so other medications such as decongestants and bronchodilators may be used. The things used to treat a common cold can also be effective in treating acute bronchitis. Rest, drinking plenty of fluids, and running a humidifier can all help alleviate symptoms.


Acute Bronchitis – Medical Encyclopedia. Medline Plus – U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health (NLM) Updated 5/20/2007

Acute Bronchitis. Richard P. Wenzel, M.D. and Alpha A. Fowler, III, M.D. November 16, 2006. New England Journal of Medicine. Vol 355:2125-2130 Num 20 255

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