Designed and created by Guideline Central in participation with the American College of Chest Physicians
Acute Cough Due to Acute Bronchitis in Immunocompetent Adult Outpatients
Patient Guideline Summary
Publication Date: February 1, 2020
Last Updated: March 3, 2023
This patient summary means to discuss key recommendations from the American College of Chest Physicians for acute cough due to acute bronchitis in immunocompetent adult outpatients. It is limited to adults 18 years of age and older and should not be used as a reference for children.
- Acute bronchitis is strictly defined as a self-limited irritation of the breathing tubes, usually by a respiratory virus.
- There are many causes of a sudden episode of coughing including cancer, asthma, pneumonia, other respiratory infections, and chronic conditions like chronic bronchitis.
- This patient summary focuses on conservative management of acute bronchitis.
- If the patient has an intact immune system, the ACCP suggests only symptomatic treatment for the first 3 weeks:
- Over-the-counter cough medicines, home remedies, asthma inhalers if there is wheezing.
- If the cough does not resolve by then or worse symptoms appear, further investigation for another diagnosis is justified.
- The reason for conservative treatment is to prevent the overuse of diagnostic procedures and treatments – such as antibiotics, antivirals, and other prescriptions – that pose greater risks and have higher costs without proven benefit.
- ACCP: American College Of Chest Physicians
Smith MP, Lown M, Singh S, Ireland B, Hill AT, Linder JA, Irwin RS; CHEST Expert Cough Panel. Acute Cough Due to Acute Bronchitis in Immunocompetent Adult Outpatients: CHEST Expert Panel Report. Chest. 2020 May;157(5):1256-1265. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2020.01.044. Epub 2020 Feb 21. PMID: 32092323; PMCID: PMC8173775.
The information in this patient summary should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.