When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
It is often difficult to know whether you have a cold, bronchitis, or pneumonia because symptoms are similar. See your healthcare provider if you have:
- A cold that lasts more than two to three weeks.
- A fever greater than 102° F.
- A fever that lasts more than five days.
- A cough that produces blood.
- Any shortness of breath or wheezing.
- A change in the color of mucus.
If you have chronic bronchitis/COPD, choose lifestyle and activity changes that promote mental and physical health. Tips include:
- Working as long as you are able to do so.
- Managing your emotional health. Talk to a counselor if you need to do so. Make positive changes, like going outside, staying involved with friends and hobbies, getting a good nights sleep and following suggestions of your healthcare provider.
- Being a partner in your healthcare plan.
- Asking for support from family and friends.
- Managing stress by exercising and practicing relaxation methods.
- Eating well.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/12/2019.
What Are The Risk Factors For Bronchitis
Bronchitis describes inflammation of the bronchial tubes. Smoking is a key risk factor for developing acute bronchitis. Any other illnesses that predispose to similar inflammation also increase that risk .
The health care professional may examine of the patient’s upper airways to look for signs of ear, nose, or throat infection including redness of the tympanic membranes , runny nose, and post nasal drip. Redness of the throat or swelling and pus on the tonsils can help distinguish common cold, tonsillitis, and acute bronchitis symptoms. The neck may be palpated or felt to check for swollen lymph nodes. Listening to the lungs may reveal decreased air entry and wheezing.
A chest X-ray may be considered by the health care professional if there is a concern that a pneumonia or infection of lung tissue is present.
Blood tests are usually not helpful occasionally, cultures of sputum are done if a bacterial pathogen is suspected.
Home Remedies And Alternative And Complementary Therapies For Bronchitis
Yes, there are things you can do at home to help make bronchitis symptoms more manageable as you recover. They include:
Additionally, some supplements and herbs have been shown to be helpful in easing the symptoms of bronchitis and building immunity. But it’s worth noting that the evidence for these remedies is not yet robust enough to be conclusive. And its always important to first check with your doctor before trying herbs and natural remedies, as some can interfere with other medications you may be taking.
Here are a few that may help:
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Garlic On How To Treat Bacterial Infection
You can lay your belief in garlic because it is also another natural home remedy with antibacterial properties. Garlic is available in every kitchen and it is the excellent home remedy to treat different fungal and bacterial infections. An effective way on how to treat bacterial infection is eating 4-5 cloves of garlic per day. You can chew and swallow it. Another way is taking garlic in the form of capsules. However, this way may be less effective than chewing garlic freshly. If you cannot stay with fresh garlic cloves, you can think of its capsules but we still recommend you eating it raw. Besides, garlic tea is another solution that is also considered as the herbal remedy on how to treat bacterial infection. You should add some cloves in the boiling water and steep for a few minutes before sipping the garlic tea. It is easy to have a cup of garlic tea so that you are supposed to spend a little effort and time on it. Garlic tea will be a useful treatment.
To know other benefits of garlic, you can view at Benefits Of Garlic
Treatment And Medication Options For Bronchitis
The majority of cases of bronchitis are caused by a viral infection and will typically clear up on their own without treatment.
Because the illness usually resolves on its own, Picone advocates taking a minimalist approach when you first notice symptoms. Keep hydrated and avoid medication unless you have an underlying complication, such as asthma.
That said, you should monitor your symptoms for changes in cough frequency or mucous consistency or color. Change from clear to yellow or green is often suggestive of infection, says Albert Rizzo, MD, chief medical officer at the American Lung Association. If your cough has worsened or your sputum has thickened and turned yellow or green, you should call your doctor.
Heres what you should know about when over-the-counter medications, antibiotics, home remedies, and alternative and complementary therapies might be helpful:
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How Your Healthcare Provider Chooses
Your healthcare provider will only prescribe antibiotics for bronchitis if they think bacteria are causing your symptoms and youre at high risk of the infection not resolving on its own.
If a virus causes your bronchitis, they wont give you antibiotics because the antibiotics wouldnt do anything. If youre young and generally healthy, they probably wont prescribe anything either.
A Cochrane report last updated in 2017 found little evidence that antibiotics help acute bronchitis in healthy people, but recommended further study for patients that are elderly, frail, or have other conditions that may make bronchitis worse.
When considering treatment, your healthcare provider will look at:
- If youve had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic in the past
- Other health conditions, like autoimmune diseases, heart conditions, and lung conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Your history with smoking or vaping
- The oxygen levels in your blood
If your practitioner decides to prescribe an antibiotic, the treatment they choose will be based on your medical history, personal details, symptoms, diagnosis, and test results.
Conditions Related To Bronchitis
As with other viral respiratory illnesses, acute bronchitis most commonly occurs during cold and flu season. Any upper respiratory infection can lead to bronchitis, but some common viruses associated with bronchitis are:
- Influenza A and B
- Respiratory syncytial virus
- SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses, per the American Lung Association
While viruses account for the majority of acute bronchitis infections, some bacterial infections can also be a cause. Some bacterial illnesses related to bronchitis are:
- Bordetella pertussis
- Chlamydophila pneumoniae
- Mycoplasma pneumoniae
In some cases, your illness may not be bronchitis but something else. If your cough persists for longer than three weeks, your doctor may need to evaluate you to rule out these possible conditions:
- Acute or chronic sinusitis
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What To Avoid When You Have Bronchitis
One of the most important things to do when you have bronchitis is to avoid things that will irritate your lungs.
- No smoking. You should steer clear of smoking of any kind anyway but especially with bronchitis or other conditions that affect your lungs.
- Fires. Whether its a cozy fire in your fireplace, a camp fire or being in an area where there are controlled burns or wildfires, smoke will definitely worsen your condition.
- Dust. Inhaling dust and other allergens around your home can stir up trouble so keep your windows closed and keep your house clean, dusted and vacuumed. Wear a mask while cleaning and consider an air filter for your home.
Keep an eye on your local weather, too. Local news and other outlets, like the National Weather Service, will often report your local air quality index, which tracks the level of pollution in the air in your community. The higher the index number, the worse the air quality is, meaning you should stay inside with an air filter on and windows closed.
Description Of The Intervention
The use of antibiotics in people with acute bronchial infections remains a controversial area in primary healthcare practice . Streptococcus pneumoniae,Haemophilus influenzae, andMoraxella catarrhalis have been isolated from sputum samples in up to 45% of people with acute bronchitis , but their role is difficult to assess due to potential oropharyngeal colonisation in healthy individuals . Unfortunately, there are no clinically useful criteria that accurately help distinguish bacterial from viral bronchial infections, therefore some authors have called for physicians to stop prescribing antibiotics for people with acute bronchitis . Nevertheless, antibiotics are prescribed for 60% to 83% of people who present to physicians with the condition .
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Treating Body Aches And Pains
Taking over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen can help relieve symptoms of bronchitis, such as fever, headache, and aches and pains.
Aspirin should not be given to children or teenagers, unless advised by a doctor, due to the associated risk of Reyes syndrome.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can be hazardous for people with asthma and should be avoided.
Living With Acute Bronchitis
Most cases of acute bronchitis go away on their own in 7 to 10 days. You should call your doctor if:
- You continue to wheeze and cough for more than 2 weeks, especially at night when you lie down or when you are active.
- You continue to cough for more than 2 weeks and have a bad-tasting fluid come up into your mouth. This may mean you have GERD. This is a condition in which stomach acid gets into your esophagus.
- Your cough produces blood, you feel weak, you have an ongoing high fever, and you are short of breath. These symptoms may mean you have pneumonia.
The risk of developing complications from acute bronchitis, such as pneumonia, is greater in some people. These include:
- Young children
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How Can You Treat Acute Bronchitis Without Antibiotics
Most cases of acute bronchitis go away in 2 to 3 weeks, but some may last 4 weeks. Home treatment to relieve symptoms is usually all that you need. Here are some things you can try that may help you feel better:
- Relieve your cough by drinking fluids, using cough drops, and avoiding things like smoke that can irritate your lungs.
- Get enough rest so that your body has the energy it needs to fight the virus. You’ll feel better sooner if you rest more than usual while you have acute bronchitis.
- Try over-the counter medicines such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin to relieve fever and body aches. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 18. It has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
Your doctor may recommend that you take antibiotics for acute bronchitis if:
- You are at risk for pneumonia.
- Your condition hasn’t gotten better in 14 to 21 days.
- You have COPD, asthma, cystic fibrosis, or heart failure.
When To See Your Gp
Most cases of bronchitis can be treated easily at home with rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and plenty of fluids.
You only need to see your GP if your symptoms are severe or unusual for example, if:
- your cough is severe or lasts longer than three weeks
- you have a constant fever for more than three days
- you cough up mucus streaked with blood
- you have an underlying heart or lung condition, such as asthma or heart failure
Your GP may need to rule out other lung infections, such as pneumonia, which has symptoms similar to those of bronchitis. If your GP thinks you may have pneumonia, you will probably need a chest X-ray, and a sample of mucus may be taken for testing.
If your GP thinks you might have an undiagnosed underlying condition, they may also suggest a pulmonary function test. You will be asked to take a deep breath and blow into a device called a spirometer, which measures the volume of air in your lungs. Decreased lung capacity can indicate an underlying health problem.
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Antibiotics For Cough From Other Causes
While its not likely that youll be prescribed antibiotics for bronchitis, it is possible that youll need antibiotics for an incessant cough caused by another bacteria.
An infection called whooping cough is caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis and can cause a lingering cough. Luckily, its prevented in most cases by the pertussis vaccine, which has reduced whooping cough infections drastically.
If you havent been vaccinated against whooping cough , its possible a cough could be caused by the pertussis bacteria.
The symptoms of pertussis are very similar to those of bronchitis. They include initial cold-like symptoms, including:
- A sniffly, runny nose
- A mild, occasional cough
- Unusual pauses in breathing
In pertussis, especially in those who havent been vaccinated, these symptoms worsen and develop into unusual coughing fits with an accompanying high-pitched whoop sound. This usually happens one to two weeks after the initial infection.
These coughing fits can cause exhaustion and vomiting, and can last a long timeup to 10 weeks or more.
Pertussis infections are treated with antibiotics, and early treatment is essential to ease symptoms and prevent the spread of the disease.
Also, try to stay away from others, especially those too young to be vaccinated. Whooping cough is extremely dangerous to infants.
Antibiotics commonly prescribed to treat pertussis include:
How To Cure Bronchitis Naturally Without Antibiotics 8 Tips
Bronchitis is respiratory disease which affects the bronchial tube. This disease can be caused by inflammation and swelling in bronchial passage due to mucous. Bronchitis has two main forms including acute disease and chronic disease. Duration of acute disease is about one or three weeks while it takes from three months to two years with chronic bronchitis. Acute bronchitis can be treated with natural techniques and home remedies. However if you get diagnosed with chronic bronchitis, it is important to have special medical treatments. The possible reason may be that bronchitis is the serious long-term infection. It is time for me to introduce to you some effective techniques and home remedies on how to cure bronchitis naturally without antibiotics in order to help you find the relief immediately.
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What Is The Difference Between Bronchitis And Pneumonia
In terms of symptoms, these two diseases may seem very similar. Both cause cough, fever, fatigue, and a heavy feeling in your chest. Bronchitis can sometimes progress to pneumonia.
Despite similarities, the conditions are different. First, bronchitis involves the bronchial tubes, while pneumonia affects the alveoli, or the air sacs in the lungs. Second, pneumonia symptoms are usually much worse. In addition, pneumonia can be life-threatening, especially in older people and other vulnerable groups.
If your symptoms do not get better in a week or so, it is best to contact your doctor.
What Else Do You Need To Make Your Decision
Check the facts
- Sorry, that’s not right. Antibiotics kill bacteria or slow or stop their growth. But since acute bronchitis is most often caused by a virus and not by bacteria, antibiotics don’t work very well to treat it.
- You’re right. Antibiotics kill bacteria or slow or stop their growth. But since acute bronchitis is most often caused by a virus and not by bacteria, antibiotics don’t work very well to treat it.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” Antibiotics kill or slow bacteria. But since acute bronchitis is most often caused by a virus, antibiotics aren’t the best treatment for it.
- You’re right. Most cases of acute bronchitis go away in 2 to 3 weeks. Home treatment to relieve symptoms is usually all that you need.
- Sorry, that’s not right. Most cases of acute bronchitis go away in 2 to 3 weeks. Home treatment to relieve symptoms is usually all that you need.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” Most cases of acute bronchitis go away in 2 to 3 weeks. Home treatment to relieve symptoms is usually all that’s needed.
- You’re right. Antibiotics may help people who have acute bronchitis and other health problems, such as COPD or asthma.
- Sorry, that’s not right. Antibiotics may be useful in treating people who have acute bronchitis and other health problems, such as COPD or asthma.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” Antibiotics may help people who have acute bronchitis and other health problems, such as COPD or asthma.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Bronchitis:
- Congestion of chest
- Wheezing sound while breathing
- Shortness of breath
Acute bronchitis has additional symptoms such as low temperature , body aches and pain, running nose and sore throat. The symptoms especially cough may usually take time to fade as the bronchial tubes need to heal.
If the cough is persistent with inflammation and irritated bronchioles then your doctor may advise for additional tests.
On the contrary, the symptoms of chronic bronchitis will be persistent for 3 months with recurrent attacks.
How To Prevent Pneumonia
Preventive measures can be taken to avoid pneumonia. These preventive measures can also be taught to underprivileged and high-risk group people as steps towards reducing the incidence of pneumonia.
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Supplements To Help Bronchitis Symptoms
- N-acetyl cysteine , a form of the amino acid cysteine, helps thin and loosen mucus. Take one 600-milligram dose three times daily, between meals, until the bronchitis has cleared up. If youre treating short-lived bronchitis, continue taking NAC for another few weeks after the cough goes away.
- Echinacea and astragalus are herbs that strengthen the immune system and help you fight off bacteria and viruses. Take 500 milligrams of either herb four times a day for acute bronchitis or twice daily for chronic bronchitis.
- R-lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant nutrient that is vital in the repair of inflamed airways. Like other antioxidants such as vitamins E and C, R-lipoic acid contributes to your health by counteracting the effects of harmful molecules called free radicals, which damage cells. Usually your body produces enough lipoic acid on its own, but when theres inflammation, cells are under stress and need all the help they can get. Take 100 milligrams of R-lipoic acid three times daily with meals and eat foods that are high in antioxidants.
- A medicinal formula called Arcozon has potent antibacterial and immune-stimulating properties. It contains four herbs that have been traditionally used by healers in the Amazon rainforest: uña de gato , pau darco, suma, and jatoba. You can use it to prevent or treat bronchial infections. Take one teaspoon or four capsules four times daily for short-lived bronchitis or twice daily for chronic bronchitis.