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Bronchitis is an inflammation of the main air passages (bronchi) to the lungs. It causes a cough, shortness of breath and chest tightness. Coughing often brings up yellow or greenish mucus. There are two main types of bronchitis: acute and chronic.

Acute bronchitis is often caused by the same viruses that cause colds. It usually starts as a sore throat, runny nose or sinus infection, then spreads to the airways. It can cause a lingering dry cough, but it usually goes away on its own.

Chronic bronchitis is one type of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). The inflamed bronchi produce a lot of mucus. This leads to cough and difficulty getting air in and out of the lungs. Cigarette smoking is the most common cause.[1] Breathing in other fumes and dusts over a long period of time may also cause chronic bronchitis. Treatment will help alleviate symptoms, but chronic bronchitis is a long-term condition that keeps coming back or never goes away completely.[2]

See also


  1. Mayo Clinic, Bronchitis: Causes
  2. MedlindePlus, Chronic Bronchitis