Bronchitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the airways in the lungs, typically caused by an infection. While it often improves without treatment within three weeks, some individuals may experience long-term inflammation known as chronic bronchitis, which is a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


The symptoms of bronchitis can resemble those of a cold or flu, and they may include:

  • Coughing, with the possibility of clear, white, yellow, or green mucus being expelled
  • Chest pain when coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • High temperature

Self-Care Measures

There are several things you can do at home to ease the symptoms of bronchitis and reduce the risk of spreading infections to others:

  • Rest and stay at home if you have a high temperature or feel too unwell to carry out your usual activities.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Take painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve pain and reduce fever.
  • Consider adding honey to warm drinks to soothe your throat (excluding babies under the age of 1).
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and dispose of used tissues promptly.
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Avoid smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, as it can worsen symptoms and hinder recovery.

When to Seek Medical Assistance

While bronchitis often resolves on its own within three weeks, certain circumstances may require prompt medical attention. It is crucial to seek help in the following situations:

  • If you have had a cough for more than three weeks.
  • If you cough up blood or blood-stained mucus.
  • If you experience chest pain that comes and goes, worsens with breathing or coughing.
  • If you are over 65 years of age.
  • If you are pregnant.
  • If you have a long-term condition, such as diabetes, or a heart, lung, or kidney condition.
  • If you have a weakened immune system, either due to a medical condition or ongoing treatment like chemotherapy.
  • If you feel very unwell.

When to seek Emergency Assistance

In certain critical situations, immediate action is required, and you should call 999 right away if you experience any of the following:

  • Struggling to breathe, choking, gasping, and an inability to speak.
  • Pale, blue, or blotchy skin, particularly on the lips, tongue, gums, under the nails, or around the eyes (easier to observe on brown or black skin).
  • Sudden confusion or disorientation.
  • Inability to wake a baby or they appear unusually floppy.


In most cases, bronchitis resolves without the need for treatment within three weeks. However, if bacterial infection is suspected, antibiotics may be necessary. It is essential to consult a GP if your symptoms persist beyond three weeks.

General Practitioner

At Dr.Dropin our experienced GPs provide a wide range of primary care services, similar to those provided by the NHS, either in the clinic or through video consultations.


At Dr.Dropin, you will receive specialist care from our expert Consultant Dermatologists provided by skindoc. With extensive experience from both public and private hospitals, we can assess and treat most chronic and acute skin disorders – either in the clinic, through video, or via a photo upload service.

NHS. (2023). Bronchitis. NHS.