Doctor insights on:
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
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the mucous membranes of the bronchi (airways that carry air from the trachea to the more distal parts of the lungs, or bronchioles). Bronchitis may be caused by either viral or bacterial infections, and is treated with antibiotics , steroids, inhaled bronchodilators, or mucolytics. Bronchitis can be acute or chronic. The latter is usually associated with smoking and may be part of COPD. Both acute and chronic bronchitis can lead to other serious conditions, including pneumonia with ...Read more
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 moreSee 1 more doctor answer
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
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
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 moreSee 1 more doctor answer
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 moreSee 1 more doctor answer
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
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