Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Do You Need Antibiotics For Bacterial Bronchitis

Treatment And Medication Options For Bronchitis

Quick Medical Tip: You don’t need antibiotics 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:

Antibiotic Treatment For People With Acute Bronchitis

Review question

We wanted to know whether antibiotics improve outcomes for people with acute bronchitis. We also assessed potential adverse effects of antibiotic therapy.


Acute bronchitis is a clinical diagnosis for an acute cough, which may or may not be associated with coughing up mucus or sputum. Acute bronchitis can be caused by viruses or bacteria. Symptoms generally last for two weeks but can last for up to eight weeks. Antibiotics are commonly prescribed to treat acute bronchitis, but they can have adverse effects such as nausea and diarrhoea as well as cause more serious reactions in those who are allergic. There is no practical test to distinguish between bacterial and viral bronchitis.

Study characteristics

We included randomised controlled trials comparing any antibiotic therapy with placebo or no treatment in people with acute bronchitis or acute productive cough and no underlying chronic lung condition. We included 17 trials with 5099 participants. Co-treatments with other medications to relieve symptoms were allowed if they were given to all participants in the study.

Key results

Our evidence is current to 13 January, 2017.

Quality of the evidence

The quality of these trials was generally good, particularly for more recent studies.

The benefits and risks of antibiotics for acute bronchitis remain unclear despite it being one of the most common illnesses seen in primary care.

How Is Bronchitis Treated

The treatment for bronchitis depends on what type you have. If you have acute bronchitis, you might not need any treatment. Or you might use over-the-counter drugs that break up mucus or that treat fever or pain. If you have a bacterial infection, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics.

If you have chronic bronchitis, treatment will be different. Chronic bronchitis, considered to be chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , is not curable. Symptoms can be treated using a variety of methods, including drugs, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, surgery, or a combination of these. Your doctor might prescribe a mucus clearing device, also called an airway clearance device, to help you bring up mucus easily.

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Summary Of Main Results

We found mixed results across studies, with some suggesting marginal benefits for antibiotics, which are however of doubtful clinical significance. The inclusion of the largest multicentre study of the effectiveness of antibiotics in people with lower respiratory tract infections strengthens the evidence and also highlights a statistically significant increase in adverse events in the antibiotictreated groups. However, it is possible that older patients with multimorbidity may not have been recruited to trials, so the evidence guiding decisionmaking in this group of patients is less certain.

How Long Does Acute Bronchitis Last

Viral Cough Vs Bacterial Cough

Acute bronchitis usually clears without complications. Occasionally, the infection travels to the lung tissue to cause pneumonia. Consult a doctor if any of the following occur:

  • If high temperature , wheezing or headaches become worse or severe.
  • If you develop fast breathing, shortness of breath, or chest pains.
  • If you cough up blood or if your phlegm becomes dark or rusty coloured.
  • If you become drowsy or confused.
  • If a cough persists for longer than 3-4 weeks.
  • If you have repeated bouts of acute bronchitis.
  • If any other symptom develops that you are concerned about.

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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
  • Rhinovirus
  • 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:

  • Asthma
  • Acute or chronic sinusitis

Should Acute Bronchitis Be Treated With Antibiotics

Multiple studies show that people with acute bronchitis do NOT experience much benefit from antibiotic therapy, if any. In one study, for example, taking the antibiotic or an over-the-counter pain reliever was no more effective at decreasing the duration of a cough compared to placebo.

If I cough up green or yellow sputum, doesnt it mean I need an antibiotic?

This is a question I get a lot, and the answer is no.

Yellowish green sputum is what we call purulent sputum. It appears in about half of all patients with acute viral bronchitis. The yellow or green color comes from dead cells, debris, and mucus. It does NOT mean you have a bacterial infection, contrary to what you may think.

But Im also wheezing

Wheezing is common in patients with acute bronchitis and may come with mild shortness of breath. If you experience difficulty breathing, you should check in with your doctor for a physical. In addition to coughing, shortness of breath is also a potential symptom of the new coronavirus . Read more about what shortness of breath can look like with COVID-19 here.

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Search Methods For Identification Of Studies

Electronic searches

For this updated review, we searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials 2016, Issue 11, part of the Cochrane Library , which includes the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group’s Specialised Register, MEDLINE , Embase , and LILACS . We used the search strategy described in to search MEDLINE and CENTRAL. We adapted the search strategy to search Embase and LILACS . Details of the 2017 update search can be found in .

Searching other resources

We searched the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform and on 5 April 2017. We also searched the reference lists of relevant trials, and we originally searched review articles and textbook chapters to identify additional trials, including those published prior to 1966. For the original review, we included in our searches articles from the review authors personal collections and requested unpublished trials from trial authors. In addition, for the earlier version of this review we also contacted drug companies that manufacture antibiotics. There were no language or publication restrictions.

Ingredients In Bronovil Respiratory Health Formula

Antibiotic Awareness: Chest Cold (Bronchitis)

Bronovil Respiratory Health Formula contains natural ingredients from plants, trees or herbs.Bronovil’s gentle herbal formula helps stimulate the immune system and activate natural killer cells enabling the body’s own defense mechanism.*

PELARGONIUM SIDOIDES is a medical plant native to Africa. Clinical studies suggest it supports respiratory heatlh . Additionally it supports the immune system.*
WILD CHERRY is native to North America. Native Americans traditionally used it to treat lung complaints. Later, European settlers used it in respiratory syrups. It contains prussic acid, that calms the coughing reflex. *
N-ACETYLCYSTEINE is an amino acid found in eggs. NAC is widely used in Europe for lung health. Clinical studies have found that NAC supports healthy respiratory system . It thins mucus and helps clear up lungs . NAC protects lung tissue through its anti-oxidant activity .*
QUERCETIN is a flavonoid present in apples, citrus fruits and strawberries. It is the secret behind the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Quercetin has amazing health-supporting antioxidant effects. Studies have shown better lung function for people with high apple intake . It helps balance out the negative effects of pollution in our lungs.*
BUTTERBUR plat grows in northern parts of Europe and Russia. For many centuries Butterbur has been used as an herbal remedy for lung health. A clinical study showed that Butterbur may help improve lung ventilation .

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How Long Youll Take Them

Whenever youre prescribed antibiotics, you need to take the full course of drugs, anywhere from seven to 14 days. You need to continue taking them even if you start feeling better before the course is done.

If you stop taking the antibiotic before finishing every dose, the bacteria may come back stronger and resistant to the drugmeaning that type of antibiotic may no longer help your body fight off that infection.

Do I Really Need An Antibiotic

Linda Anegawa MD, FACP

Linda Anegawa MD, FACP

Dr. Anegawa graduated from the Univ. of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed residency at Stanford. She has over 20 years of practice experience and specializes in Internal Medicine and Obesity Medicine.

Those old familiar symptoms have struck again you may have a stuffy, runny nose, green phlegm, bad facial pressure, fatigue. You may have started to cough too. But does this mean you REALLY need antibiotics? Read on to find out.

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What To Do When Your Child Gets Bronchitis

Children get bronchitis for the same reason adults do: infection. And most of the time the infection is viral, as it is in adults, though bacterial infections can cause acute bronchitis in children, too, notes to the University of Rochester.

Though anyone can get acute bronchitis, it’s worth noting that children who have chronic sinusitis, allergies, asthma, enlarged tonsils, or frequent exposure to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk.

According to Stanford Children’s Health, symptoms of acute bronchitis in children are nearly identical to those in adults:

  • Runny nose
  • Complaints of discomfort or not feeling well
  • Chills
  • Wheezing
  • Sore throat

Most cases of acute bronchitis in children go away on their own and do not require medications. But if you see the following, call your child’s doctor right away:

  • Your childs symptoms seem to get worse
  • Your child develops new symptoms
  • Your child experiences trouble breathing
  • Your child has a fever above 100 degrees F

Babies and toddlers can become infected with the same germs that cause colds and the flu in adults and older children, though they usually develop bronchiolitis rather than bronchitis. Babies are often more vulnerable to germs because they are more likely to touch toys and other objects they can get their hands on, and then touch their mouth, nose, or eyes, notes Kids Health.

What Medications Are Used To Treat Chronic Bronchitis/copd

Central Phoenix Obstetrics &  Gynecology

Drug classes that may be used to treat chronic bronchitis/COPD include:

  • Antibiotics to treat worsening coughs, breathlessness, and mucus production caused by infections.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as corticosteroids , to reduce swelling and mucus output. Steroids can have many different types of side effects, including swelling in feet and hands, mood changes, increased appetite and weight gain, trouble sleeping, and more serious ones such as diabetes, higher risk of infections, osteoporosis, and cataracts.
  • Bronchodilators to keep muscles around the airways relaxed so that airways stay open. There are long-acting and short-acting bronchodilators. Short-acting products are often called rescue drugs because they act quickly, but wear off in a couple of hours.
  • Combination drugs that contain a mix of steroids and long- or short-acting bronchodilators

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What Causes Acute Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis is almost always caused by a virus. It’s more common during the winter months and often develops after an upper respiratory tract infection such as the flu or a cold. Respiratory syncytial virus may be a cause, especially in adults older than 65.

Acute bronchitis can also be caused by exposure to smoke, chemicals, or air pollution, all of which can irritate the bronchial tubes. Or it may happen if you accidentally inhale food or vomit.

What Is The Outlook For People With Bronchitis

People who have acute bronchitis generally have very few problems with their recovery as long as they get the treatment they need. You can expect to stay home from work or school for a few days while you are recovering.

Although chronic bronchitis/COPD cannot be cured, its symptoms can be treated and your quality of life can be improved. Your prognosis, or outlook, for the future will depend on how well your lungs are functioning and your symptoms. It will also depend on how well you respond to and follow your treatment plan.

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Managing Symptoms At Home

If you have acute bronchitis:

  • get plenty of rest
  • drink lots of fluid this helps prevent dehydration and thins the mucus in your lungs, making it easier to cough up
  • treat headaches, a high temperature, and aches and pains with paracetamol or ibuprofen although ibuprofen is not recommended if you have asthma

Do I Need An Antibiotic Bacterial Vs Viral Infections

Can antibiotics cure bronchitis?

Bacteria vs virus learn the difference and the best way to fight each.

Think a good dose of antibiotics will knock that cold or flu out of you? Think again. Antibiotics, if prescribed and taken correctly, usually can kill bacteria but they are useless against viruses such as the cold and flu.

Unlike bacteria, viruses generally require a vaccination to prevent them in the first place or antiviral drugs to treat them. Often, the only treatment for a viral infection is to let the illness run its course.

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How Can I Tell If I Need Antibiotics

You might recognize these signs of an infection if youve had one:

  • Pain

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Muscle aches

But these signs wont tell you if the infection is bacterial, viral, or fungal. If you think you have an infection, youll need to visit a doctor to find out whether or not antibiotics can help treat it.

Sometimes, your doctor can tell an infection is bacterial just by examining you and asking questions about your symptoms. In other cases, they may want to take samples and run tests to find out what type of infection it is.

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:

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Is Acute Bronchitis Contagious

Yes, acute bronchitis is contagious.

The same viruses that cause the common cold and the flu are also responsible for acute bronchitis.

Just like the common cold, the virus spreads through droplets in the air.

If you have acute bronchitis, avoid being in close contact with other people, or you may infect them.

If the bronchitis was caused by a bacterial infection, it can be treated with antibiotics.

You are no longer considered contagious after 48 hours of taking antibiotics.

Sometimes, people with asthma develop acute bronchitis, which is a result of a complication of a preexisting conditionit is not contagious.

A single case of acute bronchitis is not cause for concern. But it can lead to cases of pneumonia for people with compromised immune systems.

Ive Got A Terrible Cold My Nose Is All Stuffed Up And I Cant Sleep Will Antibiotics Help

Are Antibiotics Necessary For Bronchitis

Actually, colds are caused by viruses, and antibiotics dont treat viruses. But there are things that will help, like a soothing saline nasal spray for that runny nose.

And remember, antibiotics could make him feel worse he could end up with nasty side effects. He probably doesnt want to add an upset stomach to his list of symptoms!

Actually, colds are caused by viruses, and antibiotics dont treat viruses. But there are things that will help, like a soothing saline nasal spray for that runny nose.

And remember, antibiotics could make him feel worse he could end up with nasty side effects. He probably doesnt want to add an upset stomach to his list of symptoms!

Thats right, colds are caused by viruses, and antibiotics dont treat viruses. But there are things that will help, like a soothing saline nasal spray for that runny nose.

In fact, taking antibiotics could make him feel worse he could end up with nasty side effects. He probably doesnt want to add an upset stomach to his list of symptoms!

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