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.
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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