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Doctor insights on: How Do Doctors Know If You Have Viral Or Bacterial Bronchitis

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How do doctors know if you have viral or bacterial bronchitis?

How do doctors know if you have viral or bacterial bronchitis?

Severity of sxs : Both viral and bacterial bronchitis have similar symptoms but bacterial bronchitis usually has a higher fever, more congestion, etc but there is considerable overlap. Sometimes a sputum culture can be helpful in indentifying which bacteria are present. If there is only a low grade fever, it is usually viral. ...Read more

Dr. Sue Ferranti
1,140 doctors shared insights

Bronchitis (Definition)

It is an inflammation of the mucous membranes of the bronchi (the larger and medium-sized airways that carry airflow from the trachea into the more distal parts of the lung parenchyma). It may be infectious and require antibiotics, or steroid like meds to help treat it. (it can be acute ...Read more


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How can doctors tell if you have viral or bacterial bronchitis?

How can doctors tell if you have viral or bacterial bronchitis?

Cultures&Microscope: Sputun is examined under a microscope and bacteria can be seen. Cultures are allowed to grow few days and pathogens grow and can be identified. Blood tests can show antibodies to various viruses. Clinical findings can help differentiate in some cases. ...Read more

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I am sick! do I have viral or bacterial pharyngitis if it went into bronchitis?

Could be either...: Acute bronchitis can be due to a bacterial or viral infection of the airways and either can start from a pharyngitis infection. See your doctor to determine which type of infection you most likely have! ...Read more

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How do you know difference between bacterial or viral bronchitis?

How do you know difference between bacterial or viral bronchitis?

Few things...: Symptoms for a viral bronchitis tend to be milder( although not necessarily), it resolves on its own and lasts for a shorter period of time.In patients with other risk factors like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, asthma or COPD, smokers, and the like there is a greater risk of developing a bacterial type of infection due to a weak immune system. Pts with a bacteria tend to have more complications ...Read more

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Bacterial or viral bronchitis, how can I tell?

Bacterial or viral bronchitis, how can I tell?

Severity....: Typically, a bacterial bronchitis will give you a higher fever, discolored sputum, malaise, etc. The symptoms with a viral infection tend to be less severe without a fever, clearer sputum, etc. However, there is overlap in symptoms so if you are not sure, you should see your doctor so the infection can be diagnosed and treated. Both can produce a significant and severe cough. ...Read more

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Is bronchitis bacterial or viral?

Usually viral: Acute bronchitis is usually caused by viruses, typically the same viruses that cause colds and influenza. The most common cause of chronic bronchitis is smoking cigarettes. Air pollution and dust or toxic gases in the environment or workplace also can contribute to the condition. Antibiotics as a whole are overprescribed in bronchitis, though sometimes it is warranted. ...Read more

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Can doctors usually tell if a person has bacterial bronchitis without an x-ray?

Bronchitis - no xray: Bronchitis is easily diagnosed by listening to the chest. One does not need x-ray to diagnose or confirm it. Nowadays, even simple pneumonias do not need x-rays for diagnosis. ...Read more

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How do you know if you have bacteria or viral bronchitis?

How do you know if you have bacteria or viral bronchitis?

You generally don't: 1st, more than 95% of "bronchitis" is viral. Secondly the other 5% probably resolve spontaneously without any therapy. It really does not matter unless you are otherwise chronically ill from congestive heart failure, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Bronchitis is just a term we throw around for people who have a new cough, and it is not really that well defined. ...Read more

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How to tell if bronchitis is viral or bacterial just by a blood test?

How to tell if bronchitis is viral or bacterial just by a blood test?

Blood isn't best: What is best to diagnose would be a sputum culture and respiratory viral panel if you wanted to isolate the causative agent. A good physical exam and history should be able take care of you in most situations though and help to make sure you don't have pneumonia. Bacteria in the blood is a sign of a more serious infection. ...Read more

Bacteria (Definition)

Are omnipresent single celled organisms which are the both the simplest form of life and the original form of life on earth. The are ...Read more