Cough is the most common illness-related reason for ambulatory care visits in the United States. Acute bronchitis is a clinical diagnosis characterized by cough due to acute inflammation of the trachea and large airways without evidence of pneumonia. Pneumonia should be suspected in patients with tachypnea, tachycardia, dyspnea, or lung findings suggestive of pneumonia, and radiography is warranted. Pertussis should be suspected in patients with cough persisting for more than two weeks that is accompanied by symptoms such as paroxysmal cough, whooping cough, and post-tussive emesis, or recent pertussis exposure. The cough associated with acute bronchitis typically lasts about two to three weeks, and this should be emphasized with patients. Acute bronchitis is usually caused by viruses, and antibiotics are not indicated in patients without chronic lung disease. Antibiotics have been shown to provide only minimal benefit, reducing the cough or illness by about half a day, and have adverse effects, including allergic reactions, nausea and vomiting, and Clostridium difficile infection. Evaluation and treatment of bronchitis include ruling out secondary causes for cough, such as pneumonia; educating patients about the natural course of the disease; and recommending symptomatic treatment and avoidance of unnecessary antibiotic use. Strategies to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use include delayed prescriptions, patient education, and calling the infection a chest cold.