Objective: To obtain information on the course of complaints and restrictions in daily activities of patients with acute bronchitis.
Design: Prospective study.
Setting: General practice.
Subjects: Otherwise healthy persons over 16, who visited their GP with an acute cough with purulent sputum and/or auscultatory abnormalities.
Main outcome measurements: Recordings by patients on reasons for encounter, symptoms and restrictions in daily activities at entry, and one and two weeks after entry.
Results: 99 Patients were included, of whom 79 were suitable for further analysis. Discomfort caused by coughing and concern in the patient and his/her social environment were the main reasons why patients visited their general practitioner. Counting from the onset of the disease it took three to four weeks before most patients were well and able to perform all their usual daily activities again.
Conclusion: In most cases acute bronchitis has considerable impact on patients' well-being and daily activities for some weeks.