Bronchitis occurs most often during the cold and flu season, usually coupled with an upper respiratory infection.
Several viruses cause bronchitis, including influenza A and B, commonly referred to as "the flu."
A number of bacteria are also known to cause bronchitis, such as Mycoplasma pneumoniae, which causes so-called "walking pneumonia."
Bronchitis also can occur when a person inhales irritating fumes or dust. Chemical solvents and smoke, including tobacco smoke, have been linked to acute bronchitis.
People at increased risk of both getting bronchitis and of having more severe symptoms include the elderly, those with weakened immune systems, smokers, individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or emphysema, and anyone with repeated exposure to lung irritants.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/3/2014
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