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Lung diseases

Acute bronchitis and exercise

05/29/2007

Question:

I have just completed a 7 day course of Erythroped 500 mg prescribed for acute bronchitis. Although I have improved, I`m still coughing up green gunk and not feeling 100%. I have rested as much as possible but am really missing my running, swimming and cycling. When would it be safe to restart? I am a 52 year old female, ex smoker for 10 years and about 90% through the menopause. My only other medication is 125 mg of Thyroxine daily.

Answer:

Most cases of bronchitis are due to viruses and not likely to respond to antibiotics. The color of what you cough up doesn't really help much to discriminate between bacterial (antibiotics help) and viral causes. It can take awhile for people to feel back to 100%. However, returning to your exercise should not make things worse. Listen to your body. If it's telling you to slow down, do so. It may take you longer to spring back than when you were 25. If your symptoms continue or worsen, you should see a doctor again. We would want to make sure there isn't another reason for your cough.

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Response by:

James M O'Brien, Jr, MD James M O'Brien, Jr, MD
Former Associate Professor
Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University