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Bronchitis (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

When to call the doctor for bronchitis

Although most cases of bronchitis resolve on their own, some people may have complications. A doctor can prescribe treatments that relieve some of these symptoms.

  • Severe coughing that interferes with rest or sleep can be reduced with prescription cough medications.
  • Wheezing may respond to an inhaler with albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin) which dilates the airways or fluticasone and salmeterol (Advair), which dilates the airways and reduces inflammation.
  • If fever continues beyond 4 to 5 days, see the doctor to rule out pneumonia or other serious bacterial infections.
  • See a health care professional if the person is coughing up blood, rust-colored sputum, or an increased amount of green phlegm.

When to go to the hospital for bronchitis

  • If the patient experiences difficulty breathing with or without wheezing, go to urgent care or a hospital's emergency department for evaluation and treatment.
  • If any symptoms become severe, call 911 for immediate treatment and transport to a hospital's emergency department.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/3/2014

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Bronchitis »

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, or bronchi.

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