But take heart–it’s almost always something more easily treated like bronchitis.
“On a scale of how serious it is,” Dr. Arash Tirandaz of Texas Health Plano said. “Bronchitis is not a very serious illness.”
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Dr. Tirandaz said just the mention of bronchitis can scare people–it’s more common in smokers or people with lung problems but most people can fight it off.
“There is a debate in the medical literature as to whether or not you should actually treat bronchitis,” Dr. Tirandaz said. “Just because you have colored phlegm doesn’t mean you need antibiotics.”
Unlike the flu there isn’t a test that indicated you have bronchitis–doctors have to break out the stethoscope to figure it out.
“Usually listening to the patients lungs can determine it but don’t feel like you’re missing out on a lot if you don’t get diagnosed with bronchitis early on,” Dr. Tirandaz said. “Your body has an amazing ability to heal itself.”
Dr. Tirandaz said that if you’re short of breath and have a high fever see your doctor to ask medical question–but in many cases it’s just bronchitis–not that scary and generally easily treated.
“I would just take some over the counter cough and cold medicines, maybe Mucinex or Robitussin and then wait a couple of days,” Dr. Tirandaz advised. “If you’re not better, get evaluated.”