Acute bronchitis is an infection of the bronchi, the large passages that connect the windpipe and the lungs. Bronchitis causes swollen and irritated bronchi. It can last for a few weeks, but it may be accompanied by a cough that can persist for over a month.
Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection, such as the common cold, and is sometimes referred to as a “chest cold.” Less often, it may be caused by a bacterial infection such as bordatella pertussis (whooping cough). In most healthy people, bronchitis will get better without treatment. However, in some people, bronchitis leads to more serious issues. This is particularly true for people who have other health problems, like asthma or COPD.