Acute bronchitis (brahn-KITE-uss), or chest cold, is a condition that occurs when the bronchial (BRAHN-kee-uhl) tubes in the lungs become inflamed. The bronchial tubes swell and produce mucus, which causes a person to cough. This often occurs after an upper respiratory infection like a cold. Most symptoms of acute bronchitis (chest pain, shortness of breath, etc.) last for up to 2 weeks, but the cough can last for up to 8 weeks in some people.
Chronic bronchitis lasts a long time, and is more common among smokers. People with chronic bronchitis have a cough with mucus most days for 3 months a year for 2 consecutive years. If you have been diagnosed with chronic bronchitis, you should visit a specialist to be evaluated.