While letting nature take its course is generally the best treatment for acute bronchitis, complications can sometimes occur, so you'll need to stay alert for signs that it's time to see your doctor. The most worrisome complications include pneumonia, sinus infection and ear infection, all of which need to be treated with prescription antibiotics. Signs that one or more of these complications may be present include a persistent high fever (not a typical characteristic of bronchitis), severe shortness of breath, prolonged coughing spells or a cough that lasts more than four to six weeks, severe chest pain, pain behind the eyes or ear pain.
Be on the lookout for blood in your sputum or sputum that changes dramatically in color or consistency, and report it to your doctor. In addition, tell your doctor if you suffer frequent bouts of bronchitis, since you may be suffering from a more serious respiratory problem that requires medical treatment.
Last editorial update on Mar 8, 2019 05:49:43 pm.
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Timothy Gower is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in many publications, including Reader's Digest, Prevention, Men's Health, Better Homes and Gardens, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. The author of four books, Gower is also a contributing editor for Health magazine.
Alice Lesch Kelly is a health writer based in Boston. Her work has been published in magazines such as Shape, Fit Pregnancy, Woman's Day, Reader's Digest, Eating Well, and Health. She is the co-author of three books on women's health.
Linnea Lundgren has more than 12 years experience researching, writing, and editing for newspapers and magazines. She is the author of four books, including Living Well With Allergies.
Michele Price Mann is a freelance writer who has written for such publications as Weight Watchers and Southern Living magazines. Formerly assistant health and fitness editor at Cooking Light magazine, her professional passion is learning and writing about health.
ABOUT THE CONSULTANTS:
Ivan Oransky, M.D., is the deputy editor of The Scientist. He is author or co-author of four books, including The Common Symptom Answer Guide, and has written for publications including the Boston Globe, The Lancet, and USA Today. He holds appointments as a clinical assistant professor of medicine and as adjunct professor of journalism at New York University.
David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.
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