Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How long should bronchitis last?"
My dad has had bronchitis for about a month. Is that normal? He's been having breathing treatments and has taken medication but it is still there. Will it go away eventually?
I highly suggest that your father get in to see his primary care doctor if things are not getting better. Bronchitis, as you probably known, is an infection of the upper tubes in the lungs. It can lead to wheezing and to cough that can linger on for quite a while. However, if he has been taking his medications and treatments as prescribed, and if he is not getting better, it is time to consider alternative possibilities and to reevaluate his treatment. For example, sometimes the infection that starts as bronchitis can worsen despite treatment and turn into pneumonia, which is a more serious lung infection that often requires stronger antibiotics and, sometimes, hospitalization. Also problems with asthma, which causes serious trouble with breathing and produces a lot of wheezing, may sometimes be confused with bronchitis. Asthma can lead to very serious breathing difficulties if not treated. Finally, if your father is middle aged or elderly and has a history of smoking, then chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is another potential diagnosis that will need to be considered. Again, the best first step would be for him to set up a visit very soon with his primary care doctor for a repeat evaluation.
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