In the past, most doctors treated their patients with bronchitis with an antibiotic. Patients were encouraged to see their physician if they felt they had bronchitis, for this reason.

However, a lot has changed. Experts in pulmonary medicine and infectious disease tell us more than 90% of bronchitis is viral. Therefore no antibiotics are needed since antibiotics do not cure viruses. An exception to this rule may be in smokers, who are more prone to bacterial bronchitis, and certain patients with lung disease, such as cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, COPD, etc.

The sputum may indeed be colored; this is due to the body’s inflammatory response. There may be fatigue, and a persistent painful cough. The cough may last up to 6 weeks.

Your physician may give you a strong cough suppressant if you don’t find over the counter ones effective enough. If you do see your doctor, he/she will make sure you don’t have pneumonia, which does require an antibiotic.