More than 3 million bronchitis cases occur every year, and bronchitis can lead to more severe health problems when left untreated or not treated quickly and effectively.

Our AFC Urgent Care Farragut team provides some additional information you need to know about bronchitis below, so read on!

What Causes Bronchitis?

There are two types of bronchitis, acute and chronic, and they’re caused by different things. Acute bronchitis is typically viral, and is caused by influenza, the same viruses that cause colds, and the flu.

Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, isn’t caused by a virus or bacteria.Chronic bronchitis is usually, but not always, caused by smoking tobacco. It can also be caused by exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke, air pollution, dust or toxic gases.

Bronchitis Risk Factors

  • Cigarette smoke. People who smoke or who live with a smoker are at higher risk of both acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis.
  • Exposure to irritants at work. Your risk of developing bronchitis is greater if you work around certain lung irritants, such as grains or textiles, or are exposed to chemical fumes.
  • Gastric reflux. Repeated bouts of severe heartburn can irritate your throat and make you more prone to developing bronchitis.

How Long Will Bronchitis Last If I Get It?

It depends on which type of bronchitis you have. Most symptoms of acute bronchitis last for up to two weeks, and a lingering cough can last for up to eight weeks in some people.

Chronic bronchitis, however, lasts longer. Symptoms from chronic bronchitis last at least three months, and subsequent episodes of bronchitis can come and go for two or more years following your recovery from the initial episode. Additionally, repeated bouts of bronchitis mean that you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Ways to Prevent Bronchitis

  • Avoid cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke increases the risk of chronic bronchitis.
  • Get vaccinated. Many cases of acute bronchitis result from influenza, a virus. Getting a yearly flu vaccine can help protect you from getting the flu. You may also want to consider vaccination that protects against some types of pneumonia, as well as the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Wash your hands. To reduce your risk of catching a viral infection, wash your hands frequently and get in the habit of using alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

If you have any other questions about bronchitis, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at AFC Urgent Care Farragut today!