Managing and Preventing Acute Bronchitis | American Lung Association

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Managing and Preventing Acute Bronchitis

Managing Acute Bronchitis

On average, the symptoms of acute bronchitis last only a couple of weeks. However if you have a cough that won't go away, it may be the sign of a more serious disease and you should visit your doctor.

What to Expect

  • Needing to miss school or work for a few days because of symptoms
  • Having a hacking cough that lasts up to 3 weeks but gradually improves
  • Acute bronchitis usually runs its course over a week or two. However, your doctor may suggest over-the-counter medications and/or a humidifier to reduce your symptoms. Learn more about treating acute bronchitis.

Preventing Acute Bronchitis

Avoiding lung irritants is important for preventing acute bronchitis as well as treating it. If you smoke, quit. To help protect your lungs, wear a mask over your mouth and nose when using lung irritants such as paint, paint remover or varnish.

Other ways to help prevent acute bronchitis include:

  • Wash your hands often to reduce your exposure to viruses and bacteria
  • Get a flu shot every year
  • Ask your doctor if you should get a pneumonia shot, especially if you're 60 or older

Finding Support

The Lung Association recommends patients and caregivers join our Living with Lung Disease Support Community to connect with others facing this disease. You can also call the Lung Association’s Lung Helpline at 1-800-LUNGUSA to talk to a trained respiratory professional who can help answer your questions and connect you with additional support.


    This content was developed in partnership with the CHEST Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American College of Chest Physicians.


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