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Bronchitis Treatment

Bronchitis Treatment Antibiotics

If you recently had a cold that turned into a nagging cough, you might have acute bronchitis. (In medical terms, “acute” means conditions that come on quickly and last a short time).

Bronchitis happens when your bronchial tubes, which carry oxygen from your windpipe to your lungs, become inflamed. The lining of the tubes makes mucus, which makes your cough worse.

The condition can also cause wheezing and make it hard to catch your breath.

To know for sure whether your recent illness is acute bronchitis and not an allergy or other problem, you should see your doctor.

While many cases go away on their own, others require treatment. Learn more about how doctors diagnose and treat bronchitis:

Bronchitis Treatment

How Do I Know Whether it’s Acute or Chronic?

First, it’s important to figure out a time line.

If you have a cough and breathing problems that have lasted for months or years, it might be chronic bronchitis. This is a long-term health problem that needs ongoing treatment.

Some people with very serious chronic bronchitis have it their entire lives. Others can successfully treat it. You’re more likely to get it if you smoke.

This usually requires a combination of medications and lifestyle changes. Important ways you can improve your lung health include:

Quit smoking; ask your doctor about therapies that might help.
Avoid things that can irritate your lungs, such as secondhand smoke, air pollution, and dust.
Wash your hands a lot to lower the odds of infection.
But those steps are important if you think you have acute bronchitis, too.

To learn other ways to treat your cough, see your doctor to find out what’s causing it.

Don’t be surprised if your doctor simply recommends rest and lots of fluids. A bout of acute bronchitis will often fade away on its own. Letting your body rest and drinking plenty of fluids may help it disappear more quickly.

Other treatments may include:

A cough suppressant (but only if you’re not bringing up mucus anymore; if you are, it means you’re still clearing your airways and your doctor likely won’t advise you to take one).
Pain reliever.
Sleeping near a humidifier or sitting in a steamy bathroom.
Bronchodilators (inhaled medicines that help open your airways).

What About Antibiotics?

Antibiotics are powerful medicines that treat bacterial infections. But acute bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection. Antibiotics don’t help with a virus.

If your doctor thinks the cause is bacteria, you might get a prescription for antibiotics.

If so, be sure to take the full prescription of antibiotics. Even if you feel better, the infection could still be in your system. You want to make sure you kill all the bacteria on the first try.

Bronchitis Treatment