Bronchitis is inflammation of the lower respiratory tract.
The duration of bronchitis depends largely on whether an acute or chronic course is present, with an acute course lasting several weeks, but should subside symptomatically after one to two weeks.
The duration of symptoms of bronchitis depends on whether it is an acute or chronic form of bronchitis. While the acute and often purulent form is caused by pathogens such as viruses or bacteria, chronic bronchitis is caused by chronic inflammation of the lower respiratory tract as a result of permanent damage to the lung tissue and the body's own lung cleansing system.
Due to the different causes of the two clinical pictures, the duration of the symptoms is different. An acute bronchitis usually lasts about two weeks, the cough can also be somewhat protracted and lasting up to 4 - 6 weeks. However, a WHO definition establishes that chronic bronchitis exists when the patient experiences a productive cough for at least 3 months within 2 years.
The duration of acute bronchitis is usually about two weeks in a straightforward case. The incubation period, ie the time between the infection with the corresponding pathogen and the actual occurrence of the first disease symptoms, is usually 2-7 days in the case of a viral cause and is independent of the abovementioned disease duration or is not counted.
In addition, it plays a role, whether the pathogens, as in most cases, are viruses (viral bronchitis) or whether it comes in the course of disease to an additional infection with bacteria (so-called superinfection).
Furthermore, the duration of an acute bronchitis depends on additional circumstances such as the general state of health of the person concerned, the nutritional status, amount of drinking and nutrition, the age of the patient, presence of other diseases or an immune deficiency and behavior during the disease phase. This means that it can have an impact on the course of the disease, whether you are physically sparing in the acute phase of the disease, and retiring professionally or being physically strong and exposed to much stress. In this case, stress can put additional strain on the immune system.
As with all chronic diseases, it can be inferred from the word "chronic" that it is a creeping progressing and longer-lasting disease process. It is difficult to make a general statement about the duration of chronic diseases, as the course depends very much on the individual affected.
General physical condition, age, possibly existing immunodeficiency or concomitant diseases and chronic bronchitis possibly a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diet and drinking habits, care condition / lifestyle and lifestyle play a major role in the course of chronic bronchitis.
It also depends on the stage of chronic bronchitis. If it is a simple chronic bronchitis, it can heal without consequences after a few months. However, if it is an advanced and / or obstructive form, it is possible that the bronchitis does not heal and it is therapeutically possible in the following only to avoid a progression of the disease process.
The doctor decides individually on the basis of the available findings and the results of the physical examination, whether a sick leave is necessary and for which period of time this should be issued. Often people are initially on sick leave for a few days. If necessary, the certificate of incapacity for work can be extended after medical examination and re-examination.
In the acute phase of the disease, exercise should be avoided if possible and the body should be allowed to rest so that it can recover. If the person feels fit enough, however, a relaxed walk is certainly possible.
For stronger symptoms such as fever should, however, be basically dispensed with sports. As a rule, bronchitis is over after about two weeks and when all the symptoms have subsided, the training can be resumed.
Depending on the selected antibiotic, the product should usually be taken over a period of five to seven days, or should the package be completely consumed. Because if you stop the antibiotic prematurely, because an improvement of the symptoms occurs, it can lead to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
It is important that the medication is taken regularly over this period, in sufficient dosage and with plenty of water.
The risk of infection from acute bronchitis is greatest in the first days, when the symptoms are particularly severe. But it can also be assumed that there is a risk of infection in the time when slime is produced and coughed up.
Some scientists also suspect that sufferers can be contagious one to two days before the onset of his first disease symptoms. Bronchitis is usually over within two weeks and at the latest at this time, the risk of infection is banned.
The incubation period describes the time between the infection with a pathogen and the actual onset of the first symptoms of the disease and is about 2 to 7 days in the case of acute bronchitis due to viruses.
The incubation period for bacteria depends on the individual bacterial strain and can be one to several days in the case of pneumococci, but also ten to twenty days in the case of mycoplasmas.