A pleural effusion is an abnormal amount of fluid around the lung. Pleural effusions can result from many medical conditions. Most pleural effusions are not serious by themselves, but some require treatment to avoid problems.
Notice new or increasing whistling sounds when breathing (wheezing) or difficulty breathing, even at
Have a cough that frequently produces yellow or green sputum from
the lungs (not postnasal drainage), lasts longer than 2 days, and occurs along
with a fever of 101°F (38.3°C)
Are coughing up small streaks of blood.
Develop symptoms of acute bronchitis and you have a chronic lung
disease such as
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Call your doctor in 1 to 2 days if you:
Notice increased shortness of breath after any physical
Have a cough that causes you to vomit frequently.
Have a cough that has lasted longer than 4 weeks.
Are being treated for acute bronchitis and your symptoms have not
improved after 14 days of treatment.
Watchful waiting is a period of time during
which you and your doctor observe your symptoms or condition without using
medical treatment. Watchful waiting is often appropriate in otherwise healthy
people with acute bronchitis unless you have:
A persistent cough and increasing amounts of mucus being
coughed up from the lungs (especially if the mucus is becoming thicker and has
Shortness of breath.
Pain in the chest.
Ongoing fever or fever that gets worse.
Who to see
Acute bronchitis can
be diagnosed and treated by most health professionals, including:
Family medicine doctors.
If you have complications, such as
pneumonia or repeated episodes of acute bronchitis
caused by bacteria, you may go to a
pulmonologist for diagnosis and treatment.
Complications rarely occur.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.