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A 38-year-old member asked:

how do they tell if i had bacterial or viral bronchitis without further testing?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Sue Ferranti
Internal Medicine 29 years experience
Clinically...: Typically, a bacterial infection has more severe symptoms than a viral infection. For example, there is usually a higher fever, more sputum production, etc. Your doctor may be able to determine this by examining you. Sometimes, further testing, like a sputum culture, may be necessary but often the diagnosis can be made by your doctor on clinical grounds alone.
Dr. Paul Slawek
Radiology 54 years experience
You can't: Viral or bacterial bronchitis produce much the same symptoms. Bacterial may produce a more productive cough but not always.

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Last updated Apr 4, 2020

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