It is one of the most common pathologies in the population during the winter: many French people are already affected by bronchitis and its symptoms. No wonder, since ten million people suffer from it every year, on average, in our country. 

But what is bronchitis and is Bronchitis contagious we will know in this article. How to treat it well without risking secondary infection? Doctor Jimmy Mohamed, columnist for the program Sans Rendez-vous with Mélanie Gomez, took stock with us on Friday.

What is bronchitis?

There are ten million cases a year and , in 90% of cases, it’s viral. There is for example the bronchiolitis virus or the influenza virus. It’s easy to diagnose: in the context of an epidemic, we observe a dry, then oily cough , with pain behind the chest. “

How to cure it?

First because it is useless, then because it can be counterproductive: fighting coughs can lead to secondary infections. The symptoms improve in three or four days but the cough persists for ten days. Caution, finally, in people at risk, like those who have chronic obstructive bronchitis. “

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi of viral origin, which does not require treatment in healthy people, who do not have a chronic disease.

Bronchitis heals in ten days. This is why we speak of acute bronchitis, as opposed to chronic bronchitis (or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), a common disease among smokers.

Many types of virus are responsible for acute bronchitis: influenza and para-influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), adenovirus, rhinovirus … Bacterial causes are rare (less than 10% of cases).

Each year, ten million acute bronchitis are diagnosed in France, especially in autumn and winter. Bronchitis occurs during viral epidemics. Children and infants are not spared.

When a person coughs for more than three months a year for two consecutive years, doctors speak of chronic bronchitis.

Chronic bronchitis progresses in two phases: simple chronic bronchitis then chronic obstructive bronchitis. This disease is often associated with pulmonary emphysema and then causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Chronic bronchitis affects around 7% of the French population, or 2.5 million people, including 500,000 women. It causes between 15,000 and 30,000 deaths a year.

Mainly due to smoking, the number of new cases is steadily increasing in our country.

Chronic bronchitis affects five men for one woman due to smoking habits. It affects one in five men over the age of 40 and, in 10 to 20% of cases, it will progress to chronic obstructive bronchitis.

It is defined as a cough and expectoration three months in the year and two consecutive years apart from any bronchopulmonary or cardiac pathology characterized.

Before making the diagnosis of chronic bronchitis, the doctor must eliminate the other causes of cough and chronic sputum: asthma, dilation of the bronchi (permanent increase in the caliber of the bronchi), lung cancer.


A cold, or nasopharyngitis, usually precedes acute bronchitis.

The latter begins with a dry cough sometimes followed by a fatty cough, which lasts between five to ten days or even two to three weeks.

Dry cough, called nonproductive, is accompanied by chest pain (often behind the sternum) of the burn type occurring during these episodes of cough and with deep inspiration.

In 50% of cases, the cough becomes productive, that is to say, fatty and accompanied by sputum. These yellowish or greenish secretions correspond to the natural course of acute bronchitis.

In acute bronchitis, the fever is low and does not exceed 38.5 ° C.

Bronchitis: the key points

Here is the main thing to remember about bronchitis:

  • acute bronchitis is a very common viral disease in fall and winter;
  • acute bronchitis in healthy adults cannot be treated with antibiotics;
  • I consult if I have a fever for more than three days;
  • I consult when the cough lasts more than three weeks.


In healthy people, bronchitis heals naturally in about ten days.

Purulent secretions (sputum) are present, in general, ten days. This does not mean, however, that the disease is getting worse.

The cough may last longer: two to three weeks.

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So, this was some information about bronchitis.