You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. If you have chronic bronchitis, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in lung diseases (pulmonologist).
What you can do
Before your appointment, you may want to write a list that answers the following questions:
- Have you recently had a cold or the flu?
- Have you ever had pneumonia?
- Do you have any other medical conditions?
- What drugs and supplements do you take regularly?
- Are you exposed to lung irritants at your job?
You might also want to bring a family member or friend to your appointment. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
If you've ever seen another physician for your cough, let your present doctor know what tests were done, and if possible, bring the reports with you, including results of a chest X-ray, sputum culture and pulmonary function test.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
Apr. 01, 2014
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- Have you had episodes of bronchitis lasting more than three weeks in the past?
- In between episodes have you noticed you are more short of breath than you were a year earlier?
- Do your symptoms affect your sleep or work performance?
- Do you smoke? If so, how much and for how long?
- Have you inhaled illicit drugs?
- How much has your stamina decreased in the last year?
- Do you exercise? Can you climb one flight of stairs without difficulty? Can you walk as fast as you used to?
- Does anything improve or worsen your symptoms?
- Does cold air bother you?
- Do you notice that you wheeze sometimes?
- Have you received the annual flu shot?
- Have you ever been vaccinated against pneumonia? If so, when?
- What is bronchitis? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/brnchi. Accessed Nov. 14, 2013.
- Goldman L, et al. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 14, 2013.
- Bronchitis (Chest cold). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/uri/bronchitis.html. Accessed Nov. 14, 2013.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2014: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 14, 2013.
- Rosenow EC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 25, 2013.
- Bartlett JG, et al. Management of infection in acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 14, 2013.
- Tintinalli JE, et al. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=40. Accessed Nov. 14, 2013.
- Rohren CH (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 9, 2013.
- Celli BR. Pulmonary rehabilitation in COPD. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 14, 2013.
- Symptom relief. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/symptom-relief.html. Accessed Nov. 14, 2013.