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?
- Do you smoke or are you around tobacco smoke?
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:
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- Have you had bronchitis before? Has it ever lasted more than three weeks?
- In between bouts of bronchitis, have you noticed you are more short of breath than you were a year earlier?
- Do your symptoms affect your sleep or work?
- Do you smoke? If so, how much and for how long?
- Have you inhaled illicit drugs?
- 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?