How is bronchitis diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask you questions about your health, for example:
- if you have recently had a cold
- what your symptoms are
- what medicines you are taking
- details of your medical history
- any other medical conditions you may have (e.g. asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD]).
Your doctor may examine you, and listen to your breathing using a stethoscope (a device used to listen to your breathing and heart beat). In bronchitis, the airways become inflamed and lots of mucus is produced.
If you have a fever (a temperature of 38.5°C or higher), a sore throat and a cough, your doctor may also take a sample from your throat and nose using a sterile cotton swab, which will be sent off for laboratory tests to find out what is causing the infection.
Your doctor may recommend a chest X-ray if your symptoms get worse, as pneumonia is a common complication of bronchitis.
- Respiratory Expert Group. Therapeutic guidelines: Respiratory; Acute bronchitis. Melbourne: Therapeutic Guidelines Ltd; March 2012, (accessed 27 March 2012).