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When should I call my doctor about acute bronchitis?

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Call your doctor if your cough:

You’ll also want to call your doctor if you have a cough and you have:

If you are 75 or older and you have an ongoing cough, you should call your doctor to figure out whether a visit is needed.

Bronchitis can lead to pneumonia, though this is rare. Usually, it doesn’t cause any other problems.

  • Brings up blood or mucus that thickens or darkens
  • Keeps you awake at night
  • Lasts more than 3 weeks
  • Causes chest pain
  • Has a barking sound and makes it hard to speak
  • Comes along with unexplained weight loss
  • A foul-tasting fluid in your mouth (could be reflux)
  • Fever over 100.4°F
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath

From: Bronchitis WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: “Bronchitis.”

FamilyDoctor.org: “Acute Bronchitis.”

American Lung Association: “What Is COPD?,” “Acute Bronchitis Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors,” “Diagnosing and Treating Acute Bronchitis,” “Managing and Preventing Acute Bronchitis,” “Emphysema.”

Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School: “Acute Bronchitis.”

CDC: “Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work.”

NHS: “Bronchitis.”

PubMed: “Bronchitis.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Pertussis.”

Reviewed by Neha Pathak on October 23, 2019

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: “Bronchitis.”

FamilyDoctor.org: “Acute Bronchitis.”

American Lung Association: “What Is COPD?,” “Acute Bronchitis Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors,” “Diagnosing and Treating Acute Bronchitis,” “Managing and Preventing Acute Bronchitis,” “Emphysema.”

Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School: “Acute Bronchitis.”

CDC: “Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work.”

NHS: “Bronchitis.”

PubMed: “Bronchitis.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Pertussis.”

Reviewed by Neha Pathak on October 23, 2019

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How is acute bronchitis diagnosed?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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