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Kristina Duda, R.N.

Bronchitis or Bronchiolitis?

By May 11, 2014

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Two very similar sounding illnesses - bronchitis and bronchiolitis - are not exactly the same. They both affect the airways that lead to the lungs, but bronchitis is more common in older children and adults while bronchiolitis primarily affects young children.


About Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis is an infection that attacks the bronchial tubes which lead to the lungs. It most commonly follows another upper respiratory infection such as a cold or the flu. Bronchitis typically affects adults and older children.

About Bronchiolitis

Bronchiolitis affects mainly young children and can have a variety of different causes - most of them viral. It is one of the most common causes of wheezing in children. Bronchiolitis may be more serious and cause more difficulty breathing in young children compared to how bronchitis affects adults.

These two illnesses have some similarities but aren't the same. Bronchitis mainly affects adults and the most common symptom is a cough that can last for weeks. Bronchiolitis affects young children and is often characterized by wheezing and difficulty breathing due to swelling in the airways leading to the lungs. Be sure you know the differences between bronchitis and bronchiolitis before they affect you or your loved ones. You can find more information about each of these illnesses - including how to treat them - at the links above.

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April 28, 2012 at 3:19 pm
(1) karen mary says:

The author says to make sure you know the difference between bronchitis and bronchiolitis before they affect your loved ones, but then she doesn’t tell us the difference. The only difference noted is the age at which they are common.

April 28, 2012 at 7:50 pm
(2) coldflu says:

If you click on the links titled “About Bronchitis” and “About Bronchiolitis” it goes into more detail about each one. There wasn’t room to write everything about them in a blog post.

February 5, 2014 at 8:52 am
(3) L says:

So I clicked on the links to see what the difference was and it still is not clear. Just the age….it still affects the airways…commonly caused by viruses….

February 23, 2014 at 3:26 am
(4) Hovawart says:

The only mistake, but it was rather important, was in implying that you could, after reading this article, distinguish between the two, and that this would somehow protect your family.

February 24, 2014 at 7:47 am
(5) AliciaWoodson says:

The difference in Bronchitis and Bronchiolitis is:
Bronchitis affects the Bronchi(larger airway passages in the lungs)
Bronchiolitis affects the Bronchioles(smallest of the airway passages in the lungs)

Hovawart, you most certainly made the most sense with your comment, to sum the writers mistake up.

March 6, 2014 at 12:39 am
(6) clark kent says:

The writer did try to explain to you the difference but maybe you weren’t smart enough to catch it.

Bronchitis affects older children and adults and its major feature is a disturbing COUGH which might last weeks.

Bronchiolitis tends to affect children under one year of age and its main feature is WHEEZING and DIFFICULTY IN BREATHING.

May 8, 2014 at 1:27 am
(7) Joy Shepherd says:

What is the difference between Broncolitis and Bronchiectasis. Is the same treatment used for both.?

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