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When should I call the doctor about my child’s bronchitis?

Call the doctor if your child's bronchitis is not getting better after several days or if you are worried about your child's symptoms.

Get medical help right away if your child has bronchitis and these symptoms:
  • difficulty breathing
  • breathing that causes the muscles between the ribs to pull in
  • blue skin color around the mouth, hands or feet
These can all be dangerous signs of low oxygen. Your child will need to be seen immediately by a doctor.

Call 911 or your local ambulance service right away if your child:

• Is so tired and weak that he hardly responds to you.
• Is working very hard to breathe or finds it hard to take a breath.
• Grunts when he breathes.
• Has chest retractions (skin pulling in around the ribs and chest when breathing).
• Has a blue or dark purple color to the nail beds, lips or gums.
• Stops breathing for more than 10 seconds.
• Cannot speak while trying to breathe.
• Has any breathing problem that needs care right away.

Call your child’s doctor right away if your child:

• Does not smile or show interest in play for at least a few minutes during a four-hour period
• Wheezes or breathes harder than he did when he was seen by the doctor.
• Your baby is unable to breathe and suck at the same time or chokes when he sucks.
• Has a tight feeling in the chest.
• Cannot be calmed for at least a few minutes each hour using methods that usually work for your child, such as holding, rocking, pacifiers or soothing talk.
• Is not better or has a feeling of tiredness and weakness after three days.
• Has a new fever since being seen by the doctor (temperature over 100.3°F).
• Has a fever that lasts longer than two or three days.

Call the doctor if you see:

Signs of dehydration (drying out):

- No urine in six to eight hours in an infant younger than 1 year old
- No urine in more than eight hours in a child older than 1 year old
- No tears when crying
- Sunken eyes
- Dry lips and mouth
- Bloody saliva, phlegm or mucus.

Also call the doctor if:

• You have any questions or concerns about how your child looks or feels.

SHORT ANSWER: If your child:

•  Is so tired and weak that he hardly responds.
•  Is working very hard to breathe or finds it hard to breathe.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.