Bronchitis is the infection of the bronchial tubes, and it varies on how long bronchitis lasts. Because there are two types of bronchitis - chronic and acute - duration of the condition will vary depending on who is infected, treatments received and overall health of the patient. Bronchitis, in its most benign form, can last for just a few days with minor symptoms, but chronic bronchitis can afflict someone for years at a time.
What Is Bronchitis?
When a foreign substance enters the lungs, whether it's a virus or cigarette smoke, and irritates the bronchial lining, the body actively tries to rid itself of the infection. As the immune system struggles to ward off the infection, swelling and mucus production increases. Coughing is the response to eliminate excess mucus or irritants, and constant inflammation of the delicate linings can lead to the condition. Runny nose, wheezing, fatigue, chills, chest pain and fever are other symptoms.
How Long Does Acute Bronchitis Last?
Bronchitis can last for several weeks when it is acute. Recovery has completed after the inflammation has reduced and the body allowed itself to heal. The general timeline for a regular case of bronchitis is around 7 to 12 days, and the condition is still contagious at that time. It's always a good idea to wash hands frequently and practice good personal hygiene by avoiding coughing or sneezing on surfaces or in the direction of people.
How Long Does Chronic Bronchitis Last?
Chronic bronchitis is much more serious, as the inflammation from a long-term infection can lead to scar tissue building up on the bronchial airways. This leads to other infections of the lungs and reduces breathing capacity over time. A doctor will usually diagnose chronic bronchitis if the condition is present for more than 15 days out of a month and around 4 months every year for at least two years in a row. Chronic bronchitis progresses and since there is no cure, all doctors can do is manage the symptoms of chronic bronchitis in their patients.