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Infectious Diseases

Bronchitis

03/25/2002

Question:

29 days ago I became sick, and was diagnosed as having acute bronchitis. The first antibiotic didn`t seem to work, so was switched to a different one. That enabled me to sleep the whole night (after 3 days) for the first time in 16 days. I`m still coughing up green. Is this in the realm of normal? What`s the longest this illness hangs on? I`m a 62 yr old male, in good shape. Thank you very much.

Answer:

Acute Bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchial tree often initiated by a viral infection followed by a bacterial infection. The illness is not life-threatening but annoying. The illness can linger for weeks depending on the cause and underlying condition of the patient. For example, if you smoke or have a significant past history of smoking, the illness is more likely to be protracted. It will also depend on how much damage was done to the airways. Another factor is age. That is the older we are the more likely it is to be protracted.

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Response by:

George S Deepe, Jr, MD George S Deepe, Jr, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
Director of Infectious Diseases
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati