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Lung diseases

Bronchitis vs bad cough from a cold

02/02/2010

Question:

I have had bronchtis 4 times last year. When I get a cold I also always get a bad cough. With having bronchitis so often last year I am concerned. Is there any way that I can tell the difference myself between the two?

Answer:

The average person gets 3-4 colds every year so 4 is normal. Some people often get bronchitis following a cold such as persons with COPD (from smoking) or persons with a lung condition called bronchiectasis. Many people with asthma can have a prolonged cough after having a cold so it is important to determine if there could be asthma present to account for a lingering cough.

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Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University