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Difference between Bronchitis and Croup

Difference between Bronchitis and Croup

It’s important to be able to distinguish between bronchitis and croup, since the treatments for each are quite different. Bronchitis is a respiratory infection that causes inflammation and congestion in the bronchi, while croup is a viral infection that affects the larynx and trachea.

What is Bronchitis?

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi, the large air passages that lead from the trachea (windpipe) to the lungs. Bronchitis may be either acute or chronic. In acute bronchitis, the inflammation is usually caused by a viral infection and is often associated with a cold or flu. The symptoms of acute bronchitis include coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain. These symptoms typically resolve within a few weeks.

Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, is a long-term condition that is characterized by a persistent cough and mucus production. Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of chronic bronchitis, but it can also be caused by exposure to secondhand smoke, air pollution, or dust. The symptoms of chronic bronchitis can be debilitating and may include fatigue, weight loss, and difficulty breathing. Treatment for chronic bronchitis typically focuses on relieving symptoms and preventing further damage to the lungs.

What is Croup?

Croup is a viral infection of the larynx, trachea, and bronchi. It is most commonly seen in children between the ages of 3 months and 5 years. Symptoms of croup include a barking cough, hoarse voice, and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, croup can lead to respiratory distress. Croup is usually caused by viruses such as parainfluenza, influenza, or adenovirus. Treatment for croup is typically supportive care. This may include humidified air, steroids, and bronchodilators. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary. Croup is a potentially serious condition, but most children recover without any long-term complications.

Difference between Bronchitis and Croup

Both bronchitis and croup are respiratory illnesses that can cause coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. However, there are several key differences between these two conditions.

  • Bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection, while croup is usually caused by a bacterial infection. bronchitis is typically characterized by a wet, productive cough, while croup typically features a dry, barking cough.
  • Additionally, bronchitis usually lasts for several weeks, while croup typically resolves within a week or two. Finally, bronchitis is more common in adults, while croup is more common in children.

If you are concerned that you or your child may have either of these conditions, it is important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.


Bronchitis and croup are both respiratory infections, but they are caused by different viruses. Bronchitis is most commonly caused by the rhinovirus, while croup is most commonly caused by the parainfluenza virus.

  • Bronchitis symptoms include a cough that produces mucus, shortness of breath, chest pain, and fever. Croup symptoms include a hoarse voice, difficulty breathing, a cough that sounds like a seal barking, and high fever.
  • Both bronchitis and croup can be treated with antibiotics if they are caught early enough. However, croup may also require hospitalization for additional treatment.

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