When should I call my doctor if I have acute bronchitis?

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If you think you have acute bronchitis, you should call your doctor to be diagnosed and to rule out a more serious medical condition. You should also call your doctor if your symptoms (sore throat, wheezing, coughing, chest congestion, body aches) last more than two weeks and/or if you experience any of the following symptoms:
  • coughing or wheezing that worsens when you lie down or exercise
  • shortness of breath
  • a high fever
  • a cough that produces blood
  • a cough that causes a bad taste in your mouth (a possible sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD)
Acute bronchitis is an infection of the tubes that carry air into your lungs (the bronchial tubes), which causes those airways to swell and produce mucus, making it difficult to breathe normally. Acute bronchitis is often caused by a cold or other viral infection and usually resolves within two weeks. However, since the symptoms associated with acute bronchitis may also be symptoms of other conditions such as pneumonia, asthma, or GERD, you should see your doctor to make sure you don't need other medical treatment.

Continue Learning about Lung Disease and Respiratory System

Lung Disease and Respiratory System

Lung Disease and Respiratory System

Diseases, pollutants and genetics can affect your respiratory health. The simple cold - which is caused by more than 200 different viruses - inflames the upper respiratory tract, resulting in a cough, runny nose and sneezing. A mo...

re severe cough combined with mucus is a sign of bronchitis, where the membranes lining the bronchial tubes become inflamed. The inflammatory lung disease asthma affects more than 20 million people, making airways constrict when exposed to irritants like dust, pet dander and cigarette smoke. Pneumonia, another inflammation of the lungs, can occur because of a bacterial or viral infection. People suffering from cystic fibrosis, an inherited lung disease, frequently battle bacterial infections and airways clogged with thick and sticky mucus.
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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.