Bronchitis is a breathing disorder that causes a cough and often accompanies a cold. It usually passes quickly. Most people have had acute bronchitis by the time they are adults and have suffered no permanent damage to their lungs. However, bronchitis which becomes chronic (long-lasting) can damage the lungs. According to the SC Office of Research & Statistics, 13,360 people were seen in SC emergency rooms for bronchitis in 2004 at an average cost of over $3,000 per visit. Learn how to recognize bronchitis, and what you can do to avoid developing chronic bronchitis.