Difference Between Bronchitis and Acute Bronchitis

Without lungs, it is impossible to breathe for a person. Because lungs help to survive and play a role in the functioning of the body. Bronchial tubes whose main function is to carry air to the lungs, which makes possible the breathing process.   


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Even a single dust particle can cause so much irritation in the nasal passage. Bronchitis is one of the conditions which falls between pneumonia and the common cold. Bronchitis can be classified into two types: acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis. 

Bronchitis vs Acute Bronchitis 

The difference between bronchitis and acute bronchitis is that bronchitis is the condition in which inflammation occurs in the bronchi and trachea. It can be acute or chronic. Bronchitis length of the period depends on its form. Acute bronchitis lasts for a short period mainly, from a week to 21 days. It is one of the types of bronchitis. 

Bronchitis vs Acute Bronchitis

When inflammation occurs on the lining of bronchial tubes (carry air to lungs) is known as bronchitis. People suffering from bronchitis can come up with thickened and discolored mucus while coughing.

Bronchitis can be divided into acute and chronic. Which acute lasts for 10 to 14 days, whereas chronic lasts for a longer time. 

When airways of the lungs start swelling and producing mucus, it means that person is suffering from a chest cold or acute bronchitis. It comes under the types of bronchitis. It lasts for less than three weeks.

As the culprit behind acute bronchitis is a virus, antibiotics are not preferred and, they even do not help to get better at all.

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonBronchitisAcute bronchitis
InterpretationInflammation of the bronchi and trachea. It can be acute or chronic.Inflammation of the trachea and bronchi lasts for a short period.
CausesAir pollution, dust or toxic gases, and smoking cigarette. Viruses are the same as viruses of colds and flu.
Symptoms Wheezing, lack of energy, shortness of breath, and cough with mucus. Chest congestion, sore throat, cough, and body aches.
DurationDepending upon the form it lasts for a week to several months.Sickness lasts from a week to 21 days.
Risk factorsTo those who smoke cigarettes, exposure to irritants and gastric reflux. To those who have a low resistance to the immune system.

What is Bronchitis? 

Bronchitis is a state which falls between the pneumonia and common cold. It occurs when the air-carrying tubes of lungs known as bronchioles get inflamed and make mucus.

Bronchitis can be classified into two types: chronic bronchitis which lasts for a longer time and acute bronchitis which lasts for 10 to 14 days. 

Depending upon the type of form, bronchitis can last from days to weeks and weeks to months. Bronchitis can be identified if the person is suffering from wheezing sound while breathing, lack of energy, shortness of breath, cough which can be frequent and also produce mucus and fever. 

Medicaments of bronchitis depend on the type of bronchitis a patient is suffering. For acute bronchitis, patients do not need any kind of treatment. In case of bacterial infection, antibiotics might prescribe by a doctor.

Chronic bronchitis can be treated by the oxygen therapy, surgery, drugs, and pulmonary rehabilitation. The airway clearance device helps to clear mucus by bringing it up.  

People suffering from acute bronchitis have few problems while their recovery process. They are preferred to stay at home during their recovery.

On the flip side, chronic bronchitis or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is not meant to be cured but the treatment of its symptoms can be cured which can improve the quality of life.

The treatment plan, functioning of lungs, and symptoms matter a lot for the future. 


What is acute bronchitis? 

Viral infection which causes inflammation to the bronchial tubes is known as acute bronchitis. Bronchial tubes are the tubes that help to carry air into the lungs.

They swell if they get infected and, mucus (thick fluid) started forming in them. As a result, airways become narrow and, it makes it harder for patients to breathe.  

Acute bronchitis is one of the types of bronchitis. It lasts for a short period such, as from several days to weeks. It takes this much time due to the healing process of bronchial tubes.

If the cough lasts for a long time, it may indicate asthma or pneumonia. One can identify acute bronchitis if a person is suffering from chest congestion, sore throat, cough, and body aches. 

In many cases, the main culprit behind acute bronchitis is a contagious virus that is the same, as the virus that causes cold. Anyone can catch it by breathing it in or even by skin contact.

This virus first affects the nose, sinuses, and throat. Later, bronchial tubes become its target. Mucus and swelling occur when the body fights with the virus. 

Acute bronchitis lasts for 7 to 10 days. It is necessary to call the doctor if a person is continuing wheezing and coughing for more than two weeks.

Acute bronchitis may develop into risky complications, in some people such, as young children, those who have not got the vaccine, and patients with other health issues (asthma, diabetes, or cancer). 

acute bronchitis

Main Differences Between Bronchitis and Acute Bronchitis 

  1. In bronchitis, if a person is a smoker or suffering from cystic fibrosis, it may have a virus. On the other hand, in acute bronchitis, a person with a compromised immune system may have a viral infection. 
  2. For prevention, in bronchitis, one should not smoke cigarettes as well as avoid exposure to airborne chemicals which are harmful to health. Whereas in acute bronchitis, people should wear masks while using lung irritants such as paint remover and varnish, also every year get a flu shot.
  3. While diagnosing bronchitis, the doctor generally goes for a physical examination and asks some questions. It is rare if the doctor orders additional tests. While in acute bronchitis, doctors use a stethoscope to listen to lungs and may order a chest X-ray to rule out pneumonia. 
  4. The main culprit for bronchitis is viral for acute and smoking for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). On the flip side, the culprit behind acute bronchitis is a virus that can be averted from getting the flu vaccine
  5. Medicaments of bronchitis include cough medicines which are suggested by the doctor in other cases he might also prefer an inhaler if the patient is suffering from other problems. In acute bronchitis, pulmonary rehabilitation benefits with some home treatments including drinking fluids, getting rest and use a humidifier, etc. 
Difference Between Bronchitis and Acute Bronchitis


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=ZVZ4whXoJa4C&oi=fnd&pg=PA117&dq=bronchitis&ots=qKw1FEClwt&sig=T1PhViOsRyOFKwvYTHYf2YvyJLA
  2. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmcp061493
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