Is it bronchitis?

How do I know if I have bronchitis?

Bronchitis is a respiratory tract infection that causes inflammation of the bronchi, the tubes that carry air down to your lungs. Bronchitis is common and is characterized by a cough, with or without mucus production. The cough may last for several weeks. You also may have associated headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, chest discomfort, and weakness. Bronchitis is more common in smokers and those with underlying lung disease, such as asthma.

Bronchitis is most frequently caused by a virus. Antibiotics will not work for a viral infection. Regular rest, fluids, and nutritious meals will help keep your immune system strong to fight off the illness. Over-the-counter pain medications as well as cough and cold medications may provide symptom relief.

You should see a health-care provider if you have a fever higher than 101 degrees, trouble breathing, symptoms that last longer than four weeks, or if you have asthma and your symptoms are worse.

University of Iowa students can schedule an appointment with a provider at Student Health and Wellness online through their MyChart account or by calling 1-319-335-8394.
Last reviewed: 
August 2017

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