Bronchitis Treatment Medical

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the passages to your lungs that causes you to cough, sometimes uncomfortably. Acute bronchitis lasts only for a few days and is usually caused by a viral infection. Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, is a long-term condition that can be life-threatening.

Medical Treatment for Bronchitis: Acute Bronchitis

The basic ways to treat acute bronchitis are as follows:

  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids.
  • Get a plenty of rest, at least eight hours a day.
  • Take expectorant cough syrups. You need to be able to cough to expel mucus, so do not take a cough suppressant.
  • Take pain killers such as acetaminophen as needed.
  • Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.

If you are a smoker, you should try to quit. Talk to your doctor about methods of quitting. Also, avoid secondhand smoke whenever possible.

If you have acute bronchitis, you should see your doctor if:

  • the phlegm that you cough up is yellow, green or bloody
  • your cough keeps you awake at night
  • your fever goes over 100°F
  • you get bronchitis often
  • you have a fever that lasts more than a few days.

You might also want to visit your physician if your bronchitis symptoms persist for more than a few days, as this could indicate a secondary infection.

If you have a secondary infection or your doctor thinks that you have bronchitis caused by bacteria, your physician may give you a prescription for antibiotics. Make sure that you follow the directions for taking your antibiotics and that you take every pill, even if your bronchitis symptoms have gone away.

Bronchitis Treatment: Chronic Bronchitis

Treating chronic bronchitis is much more complicated than treating acute bronchitis. Treatments depend in part on your overall health, as well as on the severity of your chronic bronchitis. Treatments might include:

  • bronchodilators, or drugs that make the bronchial tube muscles relax
  • exercises
  • steroids to reduce inflammation.

Your doctor will encourage you to quit smoking if you are a smoker and will also suggest that you stay away from secondhand smoke.

Some doctors may suggest changes in diet to see if the foods that you are eating, such as milk or other dairy products, are affecting the amount of mucus that your body produces.

Treating Bronchitis: Alternative Treatments

Some people use herbs to help treat the symptoms of bronchitis. Make sure that you work with an expert if you decide to treat your bronchitis using herbs, because herbs, like other medications, can have side effects or negative interactions with other medications.

Herbs that are used to treat bronchitis include:

  • bayberry (helps fight infection)
  • slippery elm (used to treat sore throats and coughs)
  • stinging nettle (used to help remove mucus through coughing).

Aromatherapy can aid in treating bronchitis. You can add essential oils to the water in your humidifier, such as:

  • eucalyptus
  • jasmine
  • lavender
  • marjoram.

Some people also find relief from the symptoms of both acute and chronic bronchitis through acupuncture treatments.

Resources

About.com (2007). Self Care for Bronchitis. Retrieved July 26, 2007, from the About.com Web site: http://lungdiseases.about.com/od/chronicbronchitis1/a/bronchitis_care.htm.

Alternative Medicine (n.d.). Bronchitis. Retrieved July 27, 2007, from the Alternative Medicine Web site: http://www.alternativemedicine.com/common/adam/Display
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