What is bronchitis?

Bronchitis is a viral infection of the large airways of the lungs. This irritates the airways and can result in a cough that may last for several weeks.  It can also exacerbate the symptoms of asthma.


  • Cough that can last up to several weeks
  • Stuffy nose, sore throat, and/or headache
  • Productive cough – mucus may be clear, yellow, or green (Green mucus does not always mean you have a bacterial infection)
  • Wheezing and chest tightness



Treatment is supportive care and antibiotics are not routinely indicated. Bronchitis generally goes away on its own (self-limited). To treat the symptoms:

  • Rest and drink plenty of fluids; warm beverages may be additionally soothing
  • Avoid irritants, such as smoking, vaping, or juuling
  • Breathing warm, moist air
  • Use cough drops or hard candy
  • Over-the-counter cough and cold medications may be used according to package instructions


When to seek medical help

  • Fever greater than 101°F (38.3°C)
  • Chest pain, difficulty breathing, or coughing up blood
  • A uncontrolled, barking cough that makes it difficult to speak
  • No improvement in symptoms after 2-3 weeks or worsening symptoms