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

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

Excess Alcohol Harms Your Breathing
Excess Alcohol Harms Your Breathing
How long can you hold your breath? One minute? Two maybe? How about 24 minutes and 3 seconds? That’s the world record, set by Spanish free diver Aleix...
Read More
What causes pulmonary alveolar proteinosis?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP) is an uncommon lung disease that ranges from mild to severe. Th...
More Answers
What does an aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD) center do?
Tanya M. Laidlaw, MDTanya M. Laidlaw, MD
A team of allergists and otolaryngology specialists work together at Brigham and Women's aspirin-exa...
More Answers
Tips to Prevent Asthma
Tips to Prevent Asthma

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.