Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do I have bronchitis?"
If I have been coughing for 5 days and cough drops don't help and cough syrup doesn't help either does that mean I have bronchitis?
Bronchitis is inflammation of the mucous membranes of the bronchi (the main air passages to the lungs) that causes them to swell and mucus to form inside them. Therefore, when you have bronchitis, it may be harder for air to pass in and out of the lungs and makes it hard for you to breathe. Bronchitis may be acute or chronic. Acute bronchitis lasts several weeks or less while chronic bronchitis is long-lasting or recurring (at least 3 months of coughing with excess mucus). Acute bronchitis is generally a viral respiratory infection. At first, it affects your nose, sinuses, and throat and then spreads to the lungs. Sometimes, you may get another bacterial infection in the airways. The symptoms include sore throat, usually low fever, chest congestion, shortness of breath, wheezing, fatigue, chills, body aches, and a cough that may bring up clear, yellow or green mucus. For acute bronchitis, symptoms usually go away within 7 to 10 days if you do not have an underlying lung disorder. But a dry, hacking cough can linger for a number of months. It is not possible to establish a diagnosis on-line. I would recommend a visit with a primary care physician if you continue to wheeze and cough for more than 2 weeks. The doctor will listen to your lungs and may order other tests such as chest x-ray, lung function tests, pulse oximetry, and sputum samples.
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