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Lung Disease & Respiratory Health Center

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Understanding Bronchitis -- Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of Bronchitis?

The symptoms of acute bronchitis may include:

  • Hacking cough that persists for 5 days or more
  • Clear, yellow, white, or green phlegm
  • Absence of fever, although a low grade fever may occasionally be present
  • Tenderness or soreness in the chest with coughing

If a fever is present (temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit), and there are signs that your general well being is affected, such as loss of appetite, shortness of breath, and generalized achiness, see your doctor right away. Pneumonia may be the cause of your symptoms. Pneumonia usually requires the use of antibiotics. 

Understanding Bronchitis

Find out more about bronchitis:



Diagnosis and Treatment

The symptoms of chronic bronchitis may include:

  • Persistent cough that produces clear, yellow, white, or green phlegm (for at least three months of the year, and for more than two years in a row)
  • Sometimes wheezing, sometimes breathlessness
  • Feeling very tired


Call Your Doctor About Bronchitis If:

  • Your cough is so persistent or severe that it interferes with sleep or daily activities.
  • You have a high fever.
  • Your symptoms begin to worsen.
  • You have bloody or rusty-colored sputum.
  • The cough lasts longer than a week.
  • Your mucus becomes darker, thicker or increases in volume.
  • You have symptoms of acute bronchitis and have chronic lung, heart or other medical problems, or are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
  • You feel very ill.

Call 911 if you have chest pain or difficulty breathing.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on March 16, 2015

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