Bronchitis Diagnosis Seek Medical Help

Bronchitis occurs when the inner walls that line the main air passageways of the lungs become infected or inflamed. The illness is generally caused by bacteria or a virus, which grow in the bacteria-friendly, moist environment of the lungs.

Most cases of bronchitis will clear up on their own with a lot of rest, fluids and an environment with warm, moist air, although coughs and symptoms can last a few weeks. Avoiding tobacco smoke of any kind is important when you have bronchitis and will aid recovery.

When to See a Doctor for Bronchitis

Any recurring or chronic cases of bronchitis or the symptoms of bronchitis could indicate a more serious condition, such as:

  • asthma
  • chronic bronchitis
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) pneumonia.

Therefore, medical attention should be sought to rule out any more serious conditions and to receive treatment or medication for any symptoms.

A doctor’s care should also be sought if:

  • a fever goes over 101° F
  • a low-grade fever lasts longer than three days
  • bloody yellow or green mucous is being coughed up
  • the cough is severe and prevents you from sleeping
  • the cough lasts longer than three weeks
  • the person has pre-existing lung or heart problems, such as asthma, emphysema or congestive heart failure
  • trouble with breathing occurs.

All of these symptoms can indicate more serious health problems. Bronchitis symptoms in people who have pre-existing heart or lung problems can quickly lead to serious health conditions, so no symptoms should be ignored.

Bronchitis Diagnosis

A medical professional will diagnose bronchitis using any of the following:

  • a family history
  • a physical examination
  • X-rays of the chest.

Other tests may also be done in cases with patients who have other health conditions, who are over 65 years old or who are infants.

Bronchitis Treatment

Seeking medical help and getting an accurate diagnosis will not only rule out more serious health problems but will also get a patient bronchitis treatment.

Antibiotics are often not effective against bronchitis, but that doesn’t mean nothing can be done to help people with bronchitis. Fever, cough and pain can often be relieved through the use of non-prescription medications.

Drinking a lot of fluids can also be very helpful, as this can assist in breaking up and thinning out any mucous in the chest.

Cough drops and cough syrups can help to relieve coughing, and, in some cases, a doctor may prescribe medication or a cough medicine with a sleep aid to help those who have been kept awake by their cough.

Pain relievers with fever reducers can help to lower fevers and lessen some pain and swelling that may occur in the throat due to excessive coughing and abnormal breathing patterns.

Medical care does not need to be sought in all cases of bronchitis, as most remedies are non-prescription and symptoms cannot be helped with antibiotics. However, if you are experiencing severe symptoms, you should see your doctor. People who suspect a more serious condition should also consult a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis.


Mayo Clinic (2007). Bronchitis: When to Seek Medical Advice. Retrieved July 11, 2007, from the Mayo Clinic Web site: