Treatments and drugsBy Mayo Clinic staff
The goal of treatment for bronchitis is to relieve symptoms and ease breathing. In most cases, acute bronchitis requires only self-care treatments such as:
- Getting more rest
- Taking over-the-counter pain medications
- Drinking fluids
- Breathing in warm, moist air
In some circumstances, your doctor may prescribe medications, including:
- Antibiotics. Bronchitis usually results from a viral infection, so antibiotics aren't effective. However, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic if he or she suspects that you have a bacterial infection. If you have a chronic lung disorder or if you smoke, your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics to reduce your risk of a serious, secondary infection.
- Cough medicine. It's best not to suppress a cough that brings up mucus, because coughing helps remove irritants from your lungs and air passages. Over-the-counter cough medicine may help if your cough keeps you from sleeping.
- Other medications. If you have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), your doctor may recommend an inhaler and other medications to reduce inflammation and open narrowed passages in your lungs.
If you have chronic bronchitis, you may benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation — a breathing exercise program in which a respiratory therapist teaches you how to breathe more easily and increase your ability to exercise.
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