Bronchitis is an infection of the bronchial tubes that carry air to your lungs.

It causes these airways to swell and produce mucus. Bronchitis can be acute (sudden and severe) or chronic (develops and worsens over time).

If you are trying to recover from a cold, but a frequent mucus-producing cough persists, this could be a sign of bronchitis.

If you believe you're suffering from bronchitis symptoms, find your local CareNow® urgent care for fast, quality and convenient diagnosis and treatment.

Find a CareNow® near you

Walk-ins welcome or use our Web Check-In® feature to wait from home before your visit.

We'll simply call you as soon as our provider is ready for you.

What are the different types of bronchitis?

The most common symptom of bronchitis is a cough that produces mucous.

Other symptoms may include a lack of energy, shortness of breath, slight fever and chills and chest discomfort.

What is acute bronchitis?

Acute bronchitis develops when the cough from a cold worsens after the other cold symptoms have gone away. 

It is characterized by a hacking cough and phlegm.

Typically, acute bronchitis is brought on by a viral or bacterial infection in the upper respiratory tract.

In healthy people, this condition is rarely severe.

What is chronic bronchitis?

Chronic bronchitis is most often caused by smoking and is characterized as developing the illness for two or three months every year.

Chronic bronchitis is defined as a cough with production of mucus, which lasts for at least a 3-month period for a minimum of two consecutive years.

This prolonged inflammation is associated with a lot of airway swelling which can lead to constriction and/or blockage.

What's the difference between bronchitis and pneumonia?


It is easy to confuse bronchitis and pneumonia as the symptoms are very similar.

Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs and shares a lot of the same symptoms with bronchitis with a few more additions.

Generally someone with pneumonia will feel much worse than someone with bronchitis.

It's a serious illness that requires extensive time to recover from and thousands of Americans die from every year.

You should always consult a healthcare professional for diagnosis if you're unsure if you have pneumonia.

How is bronchitis diagnosed and treated?

A healthcare provider can diagnose bronchitis. A chest x-ray may be used to rule out pneumonia.

However, antibiotics will not help treat viral bronchitis.

Most acute bronchitis symptoms will improve on their own with the help of at-home remedies:

  • Drink fluids
  • Take over-the-counter pain medicines (as directed)
  • Use a humidifier
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Avoid irritants such as smoke, fumes or pollution

Contact a healthcare provider if your or your child have any of these symptoms:

  • Cough with bloody mucus
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fever higher than 100.4°F
  • Inability to sleep
  • Prolonged cough

You may believe the cough will run its course, which it might; however, if the fever and coughing is persistent or you have shortness of breath, don’t hesitate to contact a provider immediately.

CareNow® can help treat bronchitis

If your bronchitis is preventing you from sleeping, accompanied by a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher or producing blood or discolored mucus, you should also seek medical attention immediately.

Remember, walk-ins are always welcome but our Web-Check in feature can help make your visit more convenient!

Web Check-In®