Bronchitis is a common winter illness that causes inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes.  These inflamed tissues produce excess mucus in an effort to flush out the infection.  Large quantities of mucus induce coughing as the body tries to rid itself of the congestion.  Anyone can be exposed to the viruses and bacteria that cause bronchitis.  In most instances, the chest congestion goes away in about a week, but the cough often lingers for several months.  People with asthma are at greater risk of developing asthmatic bronchitis, which is a more severe, chronic form of the illness.  Already compromised airways become even narrower, and breathing becomes very difficult.  If symptoms persist or get worse, seek medical advice.

P.S.   The symptoms of bronchitis and asthmatic bronchitis are very similar.  An official diagnosis is the best way to tell the conditions apart.

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