When should I see my healthcare provider?

It is often difficult to know whether you have a cold, bronchitis, or pneumonia because symptoms are similar. See your healthcare provider if you have:

  • A cold that lasts more than two to three weeks.
  • A fever greater than 102° F.
  • A fever that lasts more than five days.
  • A cough that produces blood.
  • Any shortness of breath or wheezing.
  • A change in the color of mucus.

If you have chronic bronchitis/COPD, choose lifestyle and activity changes that promote mental and physical health. Tips include:

  • Working as long as you are able to do so.
  • Managing your emotional health. Talk to a counselor if you need to do so. Make positive changes, like going outside, staying involved with friends and hobbies, getting a good night’s sleep and following suggestions of your healthcare provider.
  • Being a partner in your healthcare plan.
  • Asking for support from family and friends.
  • Managing stress by exercising and practicing relaxation methods.
  • Eating well.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/12/2019.

References

  • National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Bronchitis. Accessed 8/13/2019.
  • American Lung Association. Chronic Bronchitis. Accessed 8/13/2019.
  • American Lung Association. Acute Bronchitis. Accessed 8/13/2019.
  • Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Bronchitis. Accessed 8/13/2019.
  • Lefebvre CW. Lefebvre C.W. Lefebvre, Cedric W.Acute Bronchitis and Upper Respiratory Tract Infections. In: Tintinalli JE, Stapczynski J, Ma O, Yealy DM, Meckler GD, Cline DM. Tintinalli J.E., Stapczynski J, Ma O, Yealy D.M., Meckler G.D., Cline D.M. Eds. Judith E. Tintinalli, et al.eds. Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide, 8e New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2016

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