Bronchitis is an inflammation of the tubes that carry air to your lungs. It causes a cough that brings up mucus, shortness of breath, wheezing, and tightness in the chest. Acute bronchitis is often caused by the same viruses that cause colds and the flu, which spread through the air when people cough or sneeze, and through physical contact like unwashed hands. It can also be caused by bacteria, but this is rare. Most cases get better within a few days, but even after the infection is gone, the cough may last for several weeks. Treatments include rest, fluids, and aspirin (for adults) or acetaminophen to treat fever. If wheezing, you may need inhaled medicine. Because most cases are not caused by bacteria, you will most likely not need an antibiotic.