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What's the treatment for bronchitis?

Conventional treatment for acute bronchitis may consist of simple measures such as getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of fluids, avoiding smoke and fumes, and possibly getting a prescription for an inhaled bronchodilator and/or cough syrup. In severe cases of chronic bronchitis, inhaled or oral steroids to reduce inflammation and/or supplemental oxygen may be

necessary. Alternative choices, by and large, help relieve the accompanying discomfort but do not treat infections. Cough suppressants are used only when the cough is dry and produces no sputum. If the patient is coughing up phlegm, the cough should be allowed to continue. The purpose of the cough it to bring up extra mucus and irritants from the lungs. When coughing is suppressed, the mucus accumulates in the plugged airways and can become a breeding ground for pneumonia bacteria. Expectorant cough medicines, unlike cough suppressants, do not stop the cough. Instead they are used to thin the mucus in the lungs, making it easier to cough up. This type of cough medicine may be helpful to individuals suffering from bronchitis. People who are unsure about what type of medications are in over-the-counter cough syrups should ask their pharmacist for an explanation.

The most important treatment for chronic bronchitis is to remove the irritation that is causing the condition. Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke or polluted air, are an important first step. Controlled exercise performed on a regular basis is also important. Drug therapy begins with bronchodilators. These drugs relax the muscles of the bronchial tubes and allow increased air flow. They can be taken by mouth or inhaled using a nebulizer. A nebulizer is a device that delivers a regulated flow of medication into the airways. Common bronchodilators include albuterol (Ventolin, Proventil, Apo-Salvent) and metaproterenol (Alupent, Orciprenaline, Metaprel, Dey-Dose). Anti-inflammatory medications are added to reduce swelling of the airway tissue. Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, can be taken orally or intravenously. Other steroids are inhaled. Long-term steroid use can have serious side effects. Other drugs, such as ipratropium (Atrovent), are given to reduce the quantity of mucus produced.

More information on bronchitis

What is bronchitis? - Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, or bronchi, that bring air into the lungs. Chronic bronchitis is a sign of serious lung disease.
What is acute bronchitis? - Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection, but can also be caused by a bacterial infection and can heal without complications.
What is chronic bronchitis? - Chronic bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi, the main air passages in the lungs, which persists for a long period or repeatedly recurs.
What causes bronchitis? - Bronchitis is usually caused by infection with a virus. Several viruses cause bronchitis, including influenza A and B.
What're the symptoms of bronchitis? - Symptoms of acute bronchitis usually begins with the symptoms of a cold, such as a runny nose, sneezing, and dry cough.
How is bronchitis diagnosed? - Diagnosis of bronchitis is based on observing the patient's symptoms and health history. Arterial blood gases should be monitored.
What's the treatment for bronchitis? - Conventional treatment for acute bronchitis may consist of simple measures such as getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of fluids, avoiding smoke and fumes.
How to prevent bronchitis? - Good hygiene can reduce the spread of viral infection. Immunizations against influenza and pertussis can reduce the risk for bacterial bronchitis.
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