Bronchitis is a condition which tends to affect more than seven million adults per year in the USA. In fact, it is one of the most common reasons why people see a doctor on a consistent basis. It starts with a regular cough which makes it difficult to detect in the first few days.

Since it manifests itself as an ordinary cough, many individuals do not seek medical attention, which can lead to the worsening of the condition and possible transmission to other individuals. Hence, it is important to know how long does bronchitis last if untreated and understand the disease more.

With that in regard, we have prepared the below-mentioned guide, incorporating detailed and fact-based information about bronchitis, for all those of you who want to keep themselves prepared for any medical condition.

What is Bronchitis: A Better Understanding

Bronchitis is a respiratory problem which tends to affect the bronchial tubes around your lungs. These are the central airways, and their primary function is to carry oxygen to and from the lungs. Once infected, these tubes will tighten and will eventually make it difficult for the oxygen to pass through them. The person affected will start to experience shortness of breath along with a constant feeling of fatigue. In some cases, bronchitis can also cause high-fever along with sneezing and a persistent chest pain.

Based on the onset, cause, symptoms, and duration, bronchitis can be categorized into two types.

Types of Bronchitis

One type of bronchitis is termed as acute bronchitis, and the other type is known as chronic bronchitis. Both these types tend to affect millions of people all around the globe, so it is important to differentiate one type from the other for your convenience. Furthermore, proper differentiation will also make it easy for you, and your doctor, to decide an appropriate medication.

Starting with acute bronchitis, it is a short-term medical condition which tends to go away in as long as three weeks. It normally happens due to viral infections, which means that you can’t take antibiotics in this case. The reason behind it is that when such kind of medication is considered as a potent threat against bacterial infections, they are virtually useless against viral infections.

In this case, the condition doesn’t require any kind of medication as it will automatically go away after the specified period. All you have to do is to consume loads of heavy fluid along with a regular bed rest. Having said that, some doctors might prescribe you with antipyretics for getting rid of the body fever. Also, in case it was found out that bacteria caused the condition, the doctor will prescribe the necessary antibiotics.

On the other hand, chronic bronchitis is a more dangerous medical condition which requires proper medication. It is devoid of any kind of permanent cure as it normally infects all those people whose lungs have already sustained permanent damage. There might be a lot of reasons for it, but none of them is as vital as that of prolonged smoking or continuous exposure to harmful chemicals.


There is no clear distinction between the symptoms of acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis. Sufferers will experience regular coughing and experience shortness of breath in any of these two medical conditions. However, if your condition seems to deteriorate with the passage of time, you might have developed chronic bronchitis.

Here are some of the common symptoms of both.

  • Persistent coughing with or without mucus
  • Constant body fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Fever

Apart from the aforementioned reasons, common symptoms might vary from person to person. However, in most cases, these are the most common symptoms which you’ll find in a person infected with bronchitis.

Risk Factors

When it comes to bronchitis, it can infect anyone from almost any age group. However, just like any other chest infection, some people are at increased risk of getting bronchitis as compared to their fellow personnel.

First of all, bronchitis generally affects all those people who’ve been smoking continuously for the past few years. When a person smokes two to three cigarettes per day, the smoke which he or she inhales tends to affect their immune system.

Second, all those people who have a relatively weak immune system are always at an increased risk of contracting bronchitis. This medical condition is equally dangerous for people living in harmful environments, and if you, or someone around you, tend to suffer from severe allergies on a consistent basis, they might get caught with this respiratory problem.

How Long Does Bronchitis Last if Untreated: The Facts

When it comes to how long does bronchitis last if untreated, it will solely depend on the type of bronchitis which has infected your body. As mentioned earlier, if you’re suffering from acute bronchitis, it will last after three weeks with or without any treatment. One thing which you need to keep in mind is that this period is specified for infection because a cough might last for several weeks even after the aforementioned duration.

However, if you’re suffering from acute bronchitis which is caused by bacterial infection, it is recommended to consult your doctor in earnest. This form of bronchitis may persist as bronchitis for a month if left untreated but will, unfortunately, lead to a severe form of pneumonia.

As per chronic bronchitis, proper medication is a key if you want to reduce the severity of this disease. Even though it won’t fully get rid of this medical condition, it will certainly make it bearable for your body. Without proper treatment, chronic bronchitis tends to return every year, especially in the winter season, in a more severe manner as compared to the last season.


There are a number of different ways in which you can prevent yourself, and your loved ones from bronchitis. First of all, you should keep yourself away from smoking and you should always maintain a fair distance away from other chain-smokers. Similarly, if you suffer from allergies, get proper medication and lastly, an annual flu vaccine can help you big time against this particular medical condition.

Looking into the symptoms and the consequences of not knowing what type of bronchitis you have, you should always consult your physician once you have a cough that lasts longer than three days.