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Acute bronchitis is a familiar infection that is similar to the common cold. Because of these similarities, many people mistake acute bronchitis for a chest cold. The condition occurs when the bronchi — the airways to the lungs — become inflamed. The infection usually lasts only a few days; in serious cases, it can persist for up to ten. In many instances, an upper respiratory tract infection such as the common cold or sore throat comes before acute bronchitis.

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1. Mucus Production

One of the most common symptoms of acute bronchitis is a significant increase in mucus or sputum, which differs depending on the cause of the infection. Viral infections usually cause white mucus, while green or yellowish indicates a bacterial infection. In some cases, the mucus may be slightly transparent. Almost 90% of acute bronchitis cases develop due to viral infections, meaning most people present with clear, white mucus.

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