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The inflammation of the mucous membranes of the bronchial tubes in the lungs is known as bronchitis. There are two main types of bronchitis acute or chronic.

Acute bronchitis is caused by viral or bacterial infection. Initially the symptoms resemble that of the common cold with fever and loss of appetite. As the condition persists, a dry painful cough followed by wheezing appears and later a persistent productive cough lasting form 7-21 days. In normal healthy adults the condition will resolve without specific treatment, other than painkillers and expectorant cough mixture. However, those at risk, the elderly or young children and babies may require antibiotics to help clear up the condition and prevent complications.

Chronic bronchitis is a dangerous condition, which results in the scarring and obstruction of the bronchial tubes. The condition can be a result of repeated acute infections, but is mainly due to pollution. Chronic bronchitis mainly affects heavy smokers and children of heavy smokers, those living in damp conditions and residents or workers in industrialised areas.

The first line of treatment is, if you're a smoker, is to stop smoking! Inhalers and antibiotics may also be prescribed to help with breathing and prevent further complications like emphysema developing.

Additional medical conditions:

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