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What is the Incubation Period for Bronchitis?


When the mucous membranes lining the bronchial tubes of the human respiratory system become inflamed, it leads to bronchitis.(1) The incubation period depends on which category of bronchitis a person is suffering.

Chronic vs. Acute

Short-term viral bronchitis is usually referred to as “the common cold”, and has in incubation period of one to three days. However, if the infection is bacterial rather than viral, the incubation period can sometimes be longer.

More serious cases of acute viral pneumonia incubate differently, depending on the root causes.(2) The most common forms of acute bronchitis can last anywhere from one to 10 days, while mycroplasmas that target for the most part young children can incubate starting 16 days after the initial contact and continue to do so for the next two weeks. But for safety’s sake, the incubation period for most acute cases is tabulated as four weeks.

Smokers may for their part have to deal with chronic bronchitis.(2) Characterized by a persistent, wet cough, it is along with emphysema the main type of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, that affects those that regularly inhale nicotine products.


Those suffering from an acute case of bronchitis are usually able to kick it within seven to ten days. A common sense approach of drinking lots of fluids, using a humidifier (especially while sleeping) and taking cough medicine is typically all that’s needed to make the ailment go away.

No so for those smokers and others afflicted with a chronic case. In these instances, more involved treatments such as bronchodilators and corticosteroids may be prescribed a doctor. The good news is that in today’s marketplace, there are an increasing number of dietary and nutritional supplements that can be taken to mitigate against bronchitis. These include N-acetylecysteine for chronic suffers and

probiotics for acute patients. And the old saying “chicken soup for the soul” also, still, applies to the bronchial soul. By loosening the mucus, soup or other hot beverages can truly help make bronchitis go away.




(1) Cedars-Sinai – Bronchitis, Retrieved June 22, 2011 from

(2) American Lung Association – Acute Bronchitis, Retrieved June 22, 2011 from

(2) University of Maryland Medical Center – Bronchitis, Retrieved June 22, 2011 from

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