2 Different Types of Bronchitis

There are two types of bronchitis - acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis. One is short lived and the other is chronic. Both these types stem from cough and cold , although other things also cause bronchitis.

Bronchitis is a respiratory disease in which the lining of inside of the bronchial tubes in the lungs get inflamed, infected or swelled.

These bronchial tubes also known as bronchi are essential airways to transport air from your nose to the lungs.While both diseases are similar there are a few major differences between them.

These differences are critical in not only determining the type of bronchitis but also in their treatment.You can get rid of cough and cold in 1 to 2 weeks time but the virus can sometimes get into the bronchial tubes. Body's immune system immediately tries to produce more phlegm and mucus.

This further narrows the airways. The narrowing of bronchi causes difficulties in breathing. So you end up with a nagging cough and lots of mucus. You can get rid of bronchitis in many cases with natural treatment.

What are the Differences in both Types of Bronchitis?

bronchitis types infographic

There are two types of bronchitis which are classified in terms of severity and frequencies of occurrence.

1. Acute Bronchitis

This is a short existing form of bronchitis. It usually follows cough and cold and last for a few weeks. Home remedies for acute bronchitis are effective. Once the symptoms are gone it doesn't bother you anymore.


Acute bronchitis is generally caused by the same viruses that cause cough and cold. But some bacteria strains such as mycoplasma pneumoniae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, moraxella catarrhalis, haemophilus influenzae, Bordetella pertussis and many other bacteria.

Smoking and other environmental pollutants can also cause this type of bronchitis. Acute bronchitis generally affects children under 5 years of age but anyone at any age can get it.It generally lasts for 1 to 4 weeks.

2. Chronic Bronchitis

This occurs more frequently and is more serious. It keeps coming and going. This type of bronchitis is a serious problem that can be fatal. It leads to a condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Chronic Bronchitis is generally caused by cigarette smoke. Both active smokers and frequently passive smokers are at the same risk. Although both viruses and bacteria can also cause chronic bronchitis, more than 90% cases of chronic bronchitis trace back to smoking. Other environmental pollutants are the next risk factors and then comes the viruses and bacteria in development of chronic bronchitis.

Unfortunately Chronic Bronchitis cannot be resolved as simply as the acute bronchitis. The natural remedies for chronic bronchitis work in some less severe cases. This kind of bronchitis requires immediate attention of your doctor as it can lead to COPD, respiratory failure or even death.

What are the Causes?

In most cases cough and cold is the starting point of causing both types of bronchitis. There are a number of other causes as under:


  • Viral infection from influenza A and B viruses, adenovirus rhinovirus or parainfluenza virus and many other viruses.
  • Bacterial infections
  • Active or passive smoking
  • Air pollution
  • Fine dust particles in the environment
  • Toxic gases Hindi environment
  • Acid Reflux and GERD

When your body resistance is low on the above will increase probabilities of you getting bronchitis.

What are the Symptoms?

Constant coughing is one clear sign of bronchitis. It makes it very difficult to get rid of the mucus which causes all the discomforts or trouble. You may get some or all of the following symptoms in both types of bronchitis:

  • Frequent cough
  • Wheezing
  • Discomfort in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Mucus that can be clear white, grey, yellowish or even green
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Blocked sinuses
  • Low fever and chills


To stay away from any type of bronchitis take the following precautions.

  • Stay in good health with the help of better nutrition, sleep and exercise to maintain high level of immunity.
  • Stay away from lung irritants such as as fine dust particles, chemical toxins and grains of textiles etc.
  • Avoid cigarette smoke. Whether you are an active smoker or are surrounded by smokers to inhale passive smoke, you are at a very high risk of developing bronchitis. Stay away
  • Acid Reflux can irritate your throat leading to bronchitis. So lunch manage Acid Reflux.

Usually occasional bouts of acute bronchitis can be treated easily but untreated bronchitis can lead to pneumonia. On the other hand repeated bouts of chronic bronchitis indicates that you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).