2 doctors weighed in:
How do they tell if I had bacterial or viral bronchitis without further testing?
2 doctors weighed in

Dr. Paul Slawek
Radiology
In brief: You can't
Viral or bacterial bronchitis produce much the same symptoms.
Bacterial may produce a more productive cough but not always.

In brief: You can't
Viral or bacterial bronchitis produce much the same symptoms.
Bacterial may produce a more productive cough but not always.
Dr. Paul Slawek
Dr. Paul Slawek
Thank
Dr. Sue Ferranti
Internal Medicine
In brief: 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.

In brief: 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. Sue Ferranti
Dr. Sue Ferranti
Thank
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