More than 50 walk-in locations

Understanding Acute Bronchitis

Acute bronchitisAcute bronchitis sounds serious?

The term “acute” references a disease or condition that starts abruptly and usually runs a short course.  So acute bronchitis simply means bronchitis may develop quickly but the symptoms will gone in a reasonably short period of time – though it may not feel that way when you’re sick. Chronic bronchitis is actually much more serious, since it involves recurring episodes that can damage the lungs and lead to COPD, a very serious respiratory condition.

So what is acute bronchitis?

Bronchitis is usually caused by a virus and is particularly common during the winter. It is highly contagious and airborne, which means it is passed from person to person when sneezed or coughed particles from a sick person are inhaled by someone else. Acute bronchitis develops rapidly and lasts 2 or 3 weeks.

What are the symptoms of acute bronchitis?

Acute bronchitis happens when the bronchial tubes, which carry air to the lungs get inflamed. The bronchial tubes swell and produce mucus and the nose and the chest can start to feel very congested. The most common symptom is a cough, usually dry and hacking at first, but eventually starting to bring up mucus. Acute bronchitis is actually sometimes described as a chest cold – expect persistent, productive coughing for 10 or more days, wheezing, low fever, fatigue and chest tightness or pain.

Do I need to go to the doctor?

It depends on the severity of your symptoms. Most people feel better in two to three weeks.But if you are having difficulty sleeping or breathing, you might benefit from prescription medications to help open your airways. We can take a digital chest x-ray right at any FastMed clinic and talk about your best options.

If your symptoms get worse or include a high fever, chills, chest or shoulder pain, see a medical professional – you could have a serious respiratory problem. FastMed is open 365 days a year, no need for an appointment, just come right over.

Other articles:

Chronic Bronchitis | Inner Ear Infection | Allergy Medicine | Sore Throat Remedies

About FastMed

FastMed Urgent Care owns and operates nearly 200 centers in North Carolina, Arizona and Texas that provide a broad range of acute/episodic and preventive healthcare services 365 days a year. FastMed also provides workers’ compensation and other occupational health services at all its centers, and family and sports medicine services at select locations. FastMed has successfully treated more than six million patients and is the only independent urgent care operator in North Carolina, Arizona and Texas to be awarded The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for quality, safety and infection control in ambulatory healthcare. For more information about locations, services, hours of operation, insurance and prices, visit

Sign up for email offers

Sign up to receive coupons, health tips, and more–directly to your inbox.