Mercy Pulmonary Specialist Dr. Albert Polito Discusses Acute Vs. Chronic Bronchitis

January 4, 2019
The Lung Center at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

Around this time of year, it seems like many people have a cough or nasal congestion. Sometimes, it's a simple cold that will go away quickly, but other times the viruses that cause the colds can trigger an additional problem -- bronchitis.

Tina Lintz lives with a pretty uncomfortable cough.

"You'll know it. You'll feel it. You can't breathe. You keep coughing and coughing and coughing. You can't catch your breath," Lintz said.

At one point, it was so bad, she was admitted to a hospital.

"They put me on steroids, oxygen, medicines," Lintz said.

Her experience brought her to Dr. Albert J. Polito, Medical Director of The Lung Center at Mercy, where she learned she has chronic bronchitis.

"Chronic bronchitis falls under the title of what we call COPD -- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Most of the people who have that are or have been smokers," Dr. Polito said.

Lintz stopped smoking 22 years ago.

Chronic bronchitis doesn't go away, but it can be managed.

"We put people on inhaler medication, maintenance inhalers, something they will take every day for the rest of their lives," Dr. Polito said.

Chronic bronchitis is often confused with acute bronchitis.

"It's an infection. You feel like you're well one day, and then after a few days, you start coughing, you have nasty phlegm coming up and you just don't feel well," Dr. Polito added.

Acute bronchitis has to run its course.

When it comes to chronic bronchitis, Lintz said don't wait to get a persistent cough checked out.

"You got that cold, you better get it checked. You don't know if it's a cold or the bronchitis," Lintz said.

View Mercy pulmonary specialist Dr. Albert J. Polito’s interview regarding acute versus chronic bronchitis.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

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