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Bacterial Bronchitis

Bacterial Bronchitis

Although less prevalent than viral bronchitis, bacterial bronchitis is a serious health disorder. Presented in this article is information on causes, symptoms and the treatment options available to cure this condition.
Madhura Pandit
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Bacteria cause less than 10% cases of bronchitis. However, bacterial bronchitis is more serious than viral bronchitis.

Bronchitis is the inflammation of membranes of the bronchi. This respiratory disease can be caused due to virus, bacteria; smoking or due to exposure to industrial pollutants. Bronchitis can be acute as well as chronic. Bacterial bronchitis usually follows a viral infection like cold, flu.

An Overview on Bacterial Bronchitis

This condition occurs due to inflammation of the bronchi by bacteria. Bacterial infection usually causes acute bronchitis. It should be noted that both, bacterial as well as viral bronchitis, are contagious. As one cannot differentiate between the two types easily, it is recommended to stay away from the person suffering from it. Some types of bronchitis are highly contagious.

Difference between Bacterial and Viral Bronchitis

As mentioned above, virus is the most common cause of bronchitis. The symptoms of viral bronchitis include fever, cough, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, etc. Similar symptoms are observed in case of bacterial bronchitis. But, note that, when suffering from bacterial infection, you will experience high fever and severe mucus-producing cough. As the symptoms of bacterial and viral bronchitis are more or less similar, only a doctor can differentiate between the two. Bacterial bronchitis can be severe, and is treated with antibiotics.


The bacterium Mycoplasma pneumoniae is responsible for causing this disease. Protracted bacterial bronchitis is caused by bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae or Non-typable Haemophilus influenzae. If common cold or influenza (flu) are left untreated, they can lead to chronic bronchitis. Similarly, if a person is suffering from GERD or any other respiratory illness, there is an increased risk of contracting bronchitis. Secondly, people with a weak immunity are at a higher risk of suffering from respiratory diseases. Constant exposure to air pollution, industrial smoke, cigarette smoke, etc., can also cause bacterial bronchitis in people. On the other hand, if a person constantly has allergy attacks, he is more susceptible to it.


Signs and symptoms of this condition differ from one person to the other. Most of these symptoms are similar to those of other respiratory diseases. They include:
  • High fever
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Cough with yellowish mucus
  • Hoarseness
  • Backache
  • Chills
  • Wheezing
  • Tiredness

If you experience any of these symptoms, that last for more than a couple of days, you should consult the doctor immediately. Chest X-ray, blood tests, nasal culture, etc., will be helpful in diagnosing this disease. Antibiotics are prescribed for treating bacterial bronchitis. Bronchodilators may even be prescribed to treat wheezing.

The doctor will also prescribe medications to alleviate cough, fever and other symptoms of bronchitis. It is necessary to complete the entire course of medicines. This is because, acute bronchitis, if left untreated, can turn chronic. Taking antibiotics in their prescribed amount and duration will prevent chances of reinfection. Bronchitis can turn severe is accompanied with other respiratory disorders like COPD or asthma. In that case, other treatment methods are required.


Apart from the aforementioned treatment methods, following these tips will also help in providing relief and keeping the infection at bay.

➡ As smoking and long-term exposure to smoke and dust can lead to bronchitis, it is recommended to stay away from it.

➡ In order to reduce the discomfort, you should try to avoid exposure to cold and dry air. You can install a humidifier to keep the air moist and humid.

➡ You can even make use of vaporizers and other products that help in breathing freely.

➡ It is also recommended to keep the body well hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of water.

➡ Taking adequate rest can help in quick recovery.

➡ It is also recommended to get vaccinated for flu (influenza).

Along with these measures, you also need to stay away from allergens to prevent allergic reactions. Lastly, note that chronic cold, cough and sore throat should not be ignored as they can be signs of serious disorder.

Disclaimer: This article is intended only to provide information. It should not be substituted for medical advice.