Pediatric Bronchitis

Pediatric Bronchitis



Bronchitis is an infection and inflammation of the bronchial tubes of the lungs, which causes a productive (wet) cough.

Expanded Overview

Bronchitis occurs when bronchial tubes (the tubes that lead from the windpipe to the lungs) become infected. This irritation leads to a mucus buildup. Your child will cough to bring the mucus up.  

Bronchitis can be chronic (ongoing) or acute (sudden). Most children have acute bronchitis, caused by a virus or bacteria. It will eventually get better on its own or through treatment.


  • Chronic bronchitis is primarily a concern for adults. It’s an ongoing, serious condition that is often caused by smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Acute bronchitis may follow a cold or other respiratory infection. It lasts from a few days to 10 days. However, coughing may linger for several weeks after the infection is gone. Pneumonia [Link to Pneumonia page] may follow bronchitis.


Bronchitis can be caused by a virus or bacteria. In 90 percent of cases, bronchitis is viral.  Bronchitis can also be triggered by:  

  • Allergies
  • Asthma 
  • Chronic sinusitis (sinus infection)
  • Enlarged tonsils and adenoids (glands in the roof of the mouth)
  • Irritants such as dust, fumes, vapors and air pollution
  • Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke (for chronic bronchitis)


Symptoms of bronchitis include:

  • Back or muscle pain from coughing
  • Chest pains while coughing
  • Chills
  • Cough that may bring up thick white, yellow or greenish mucus
  • Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
  • Headache 
  • Malaise (feeling run down)
  • Nasal congestion
  • Shortness of breath, tightness in chest
  • Slight fever
  • Sore throat
  • Wheezing or rattling sounds while breathing

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