Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School


When to Call A Doctor

Make an appointment with your health care provider if a mild cough gets worse after a week or if you have a cough that produces thick, bloody, foul-smelling or green-colored phlegm. You should call your doctor if:

  • Your breathing becomes difficult or painful.

  • You notice new wheezing or have worsening asthma symptoms.

  • You have a high fever that does not come down after taking a fever-relieving medication, such as acetaminophen or aspirin.

  • If a fever lasts more than three days.

Any time you have chest pain, you should call your doctor for advice. Chest pain can come from the heart as well as the lungs.

People at high risk of complications from acute bronchitis such as infants, the elderly or people with chronic lung or heart disease should call a physician at the first signs of bronchitis.

Symptoms of acute bronchitis are often similar to symptoms of mild asthma. People who have frequent bouts of acute bronchitis should make an appointment with a physician to see if they might have undiagnosed asthma.

Page 7 of 9     Next Page:  Acute Bronchitis Prognosis
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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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