- Acute illness with cough in a patient without underlying respiratory problems; usually caused by a viral infection.
- Cough is typically worse at night or with exercise; lasts >2 weeks in 50% and 4 weeks in 25% of patients; may be associated with bronchospasm and/or excessive mucus production.
- Diagnosis is primarily clinical. Other causes for acute cough such as pneumonia, asthma, or post-nasal drip should be ruled out if suspected.
- Treatment is aimed at symptom reduction until infection is resolved and bronchial damage repaired. Antibiotics have minimal benefit, while cough suppressants or bronchodilators may reduce symptoms in some patients.
- Complications are rare; the primary complication is a postbronchitis syndrome, which can produce a cough lasting several months.
Last updated: Apr 05, 2013