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When Should I See a Doctor About Bronchitis?

As if a respiratory infection like the flu or a cold weren’t bad enough, they can sometimes lead to bronchitis, which can make breathing difficult, if not extremely uncomfortable. Should your infection lead to bronchitis, there are times when you should seek our care, even if it’s only to minimize your symptoms to allow you to breathe a little easier.

At Monrovia Internal Medicine & Primary Care, Dr. Ulin Sargeant offers comprehensive health care services, helping patients in Duarte, California, with everything from acne to allergies. And when it comes to respiratory problems like bronchitis, we understand when we need to step in to improve the function of your airways.

To help you recognize when you need specialized care, we’ve pulled together the most common circumstances under which you should seek help for your bronchitis.

Lingering symptoms

As we mentioned, bronchitis is often part and parcel of a respiratory infection like a cold or the flu. And the inflammation in your bronchial tubes only adds to your misery, leading to:

There’s nothing out of the ordinary with these symptoms and they typically resolve themselves as your respiratory infection runs its course. But if any of these symptoms last for more than a week or 10 days, it’s a good idea to come see us. Acute bronchitis may even last up to three weeks, but there’s much we can do to relieve your symptoms and reduce the inflammation.

Recurring bronchitis

Most cases of bronchitis that develop alongside a respiratory infection are acute. But if your bronchitis recurs shortly after your last bout, this may signal a longer-term problem, namely chronic bronchitis. Bronchitis is considered chronic if you continue to cough up mucus for three months and you’ve had recurring problems with bronchitis for two years in a row. 

At this point, your bronchitis becomes a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that requires medical oversight to keep it from progressing. But if we’re able to catch it before it turns into an ongoing problem, there are steps we can take to prevent chronic bronchitis from taking hold.

Coughing up blood

No matter how far along your bronchitis is, if you’re coughing up blood or your mucus is discolored, it’s an excellent idea to see Dr. Sargeant. These are not normal symptoms and may indicate a larger problem that requires medical oversight.

Your fever is too high

If your cough is accompanied by a fever of over 100.4°F and the fever lasts for more than a day, we urge you to come see us. Anytime your body has a sustained fever it means it’s fighting hard against something and it could use all the help it can get.

You have pre-existing lung health problems

If you already have a medical condition that affects your lungs, or you’re a smoker, any bronchitis is cause for concern, so you should make an appointment at the first signs of a developing inflammation in your airways.

The bottom line is that if you’re at all unsure about whether to come see us for your bronchitis, please contact us at 877-254-4496 for guidance. Or you can use our online booking tool to set up an appointment.

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