What are the symptoms of bronchitis?

Clinical thermometer showing fever

A fever is a temperature of 38.5°C or higher.
Image: Kameel4u/Shutterstock.com

If you have bronchitis, you will usually have a cough and one or more of the following symptoms:

  • a sore throat
  • tiredness
  • headaches
  • blocked nose and sinuses
  • difficulty breathing
  • a tight feeling in your chest
  • wheeziness
  • fever (a temperature of 38.5°C or higher) and chills
  • aches and pains.

Find out more about how to treat a fever.

How long will the symptoms of bronchitis last?

Your cough can last for a few weeks after the other symptoms of bronchitis have gone. This is called acute bronchitis.

If you have a cough and are producing sputum (mucus or phlegm) for more than 2 months, this is called chronic bronchitis.

Most of the symptoms of acute bronchitis are not severe, and you may not need to see your doctor. However, some symptoms of bronchitis can be similar to those of pneumonia (an infection that causes inflammation in your lungs), so it is important to look out for any changes in your symptoms.

See your doctor if you notice a change in your symptoms or they become worse.

Read more about how you can manage the symptoms of bronchitis.

  • National Health Service Choices. Symptoms of bronchitis. London: NHS, 2010.
    www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Bronchitis/Pages/Symptoms.aspx (accessed 14 March 2012).
  • Respiratory Expert Group. Therapeutic guidelines: Respiratory; Acute bronchitis. Melbourne: Therapeutic Guidelines Ltd; March 2012.