What is Viral Bronchitis?

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  • Written By: Susan Grindstaff
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2019
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Viral bronchitis is a type of bronchitis that is the result of a viral infection, such as influenza. Bronchitis is a condition that causes the membranes of the bronchial passageways to become inflamed. The inflammation causes excess mucus production that can sometimes cause severe coughing and congestion. Viral bronchitis is considered more common than other types of bronchitis, which are usually caused by environmental irritants.

The duration of viral bronchitis can depend on many factors, such as the overall health of the patient, and how quickly the condition is diagnosed and treated. In some cases, bronchitis sufferers do not immediately seek medical attention, because they may believe they are suffering from a common cold. Delaying treatment of any type of bronchitis can cause other more serious conditions such as acute bronchitis and pneumonia.

Symptoms of viral bronchitis include low-grade fever, body aches, and shortness of breath. In addition, patients with the condition often complain of feeling tired and may suffer a loss of appetite. Bronchitis that results from viral infection is usually accompanied by a distinctive type of dry, unproductive cough, much like a smokers cough. Most of the symptoms of viral bronchitis usually disappear soon after treatment begins, but the cough may linger for many weeks.


When doctors attempt to diagnose bronchitis, it is considered important that they be able to analyze phlegm that has been discharged from the lungs. If the phlegm is white or light yellow, it is usually a signal that the bronchitis is the result of a viral infection. Dark yellow to green colored phlegm generally means that the cause of the bronchitis is likely a bacterial infection.

Prescription treatments for viral bronchitis frequently include antibiotics and anti-viral medications. Though antibiotics are not considered all that useful for viral infections, there is always the risk that other types of lung infections may be present. Bronchodilators are sometimes used for patients who need immediate relief. In some instances, most types of bronchitis may respond to corticosteroids, which are usually administered through inhalation.

Over-the-counter and home treatments for viral bronchitis may sometimes bring some relief. Another treatment involves using humidifiers in the household, as they tend to moisturize the breathing airways and may help promote a productive cough. Some herbal remedies that are believed to help ease symptoms of viral bronchitis include ginseng, echinacea, and eucalyptus. Ginseng is said to open congested airways, and echinacea is believed to boost the immune system. Eucalyptus is typically boiled in water and then inhaled to help loosen congestion.


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Post 2

@Soulfox -- I do agree, but I have used at home remedies to relieve some symptoms. Even if you have a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor, I would suggest looking into some home remedies just so you will feel better until the medicine kicks in and takes care of the problem.

There are some merits to home treatments, to be sure. When it comes to bronchitis treatment, why not go for both a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor and throw in some home remedies to help alleviate the symptoms?

Post 1

I don't know if I would be so hot on at home remedies for viral bronchitis. That slop hangs on like grim death and can cause other problems (as the article points out). If you think you are suffering from bronchitis, go see a doctor and get a treatment plan. Your pain and suffering will end sooner and you might avoid worse problems down the road.

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