This is an inflammation of your airways. It can involve your windpipe and your bronchi. These are the passageways that carry air into and out of your lungs. For some people, bronchitis can become a chronic problem.
Most cases of bronchitis that develop suddenly are caused by viral infection. You may develop it when you have a cold or the flu. Chronic bronchitis is a long-lasting, recurring condition. It can be caused by smoking. It can also be caused by exposure to irritants such as air pollution, dust and chemical fumes.
Symptoms of bronchitis typically include wheezing and coughing. You may cough up mucus. You may be hoarse, and you may have a tight feeling in your chest. You may have shortness of breath. You may feel fatigued. Some people develop a slight fever. If your bronchitis is chronic, you may have a recurring, nagging cough that lasts for months at a time.
In many cases, bronchitis can be treated with over-the-counter medications. These can relieve coughing and other symptoms. A humidifier may also be helpful. If you have chronic bronchitis, you may be prescribed antibiotics or steroids. You may benefit from supplemental oxygen and increased exercise. Your healthcare provider may recommend pulmonary rehabilitation. This is a therapy that can help you improve your breathing. Some people benefit from surgery to remove damaged portions of the lungs. Your healthcare provider can develop a care plan that is right for your needs.