Key Points About Acute Bronchitis In Children
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the large breathing tubes in the lungs. Acute bronchitis means that the symptoms often develop quickly and dont last long.
In children, the most common cause of acute bronchitis is a virus.
A cough, fever, runny nose, and body aches are common symptoms.
Treatment is aimed at easing symptoms. It may include plenty of rest and fluids. Medicines for fever or cough may also help.
Antibiotics are not needed, unless the cause is a bacterial infection.
Do Colds Cause Acute Bronchitis
Anatomically, the larynx divides the upper and lower airways. Colds tend to affect the mouth, throat, and nasal passages while bronchitis describes specific inflammation of the bronchial tubes. The two illnesses can exist at the same time and may be caused by the same virus infection. A cold does not necessarily lead to bronchitis.
How Do I Know Whether Its Acute Or Chronic
First, itâs important to figure out a time line.
If you have a cough and breathing problems that have lasted for months or years, it might be chronic bronchitis. This is a long-term health problem that needs ongoing treatment.
Some people with very serious chronic bronchitis have it their entire lives. Others can successfully treat it. Youâre more likely to get it if you smoke.
This usually requires a combination of medications and lifestyle changes. Important ways you can improve your lung health include:
- Quit smoking ask your doctor about therapies that might help.
- Avoid things that can irritate your lungs, such as secondhand smoke, air pollution, and dust.
- Wash your hands a lot to lower the odds of infection.
But those steps are important if you think you have acute bronchitis, too.
To learn other ways to treat your cough, see your doctor to find out whatâs causing it.
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How Your Doctor Chooses
Your doctor will select the right antibiotic for you based on multiple factors, including:
- Your age: People 65 and older have a greater risk of serious complications from pneumonia infections.
- Your health history: A history of smoking, lung diseases, or other conditions may influence a person’s ability to fight off infections.
- The exact infection you have: Your doctor may take a sample and test it for bacteria. They can then pick an antibiotic based on your specific infection.
- Your previous experiences with antibiotics: Make sure to tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications, had bad reactions to antibiotics in the past, or have developed an antibacterial-resistant infection.
- The antibiotic sensitivity of the bacteria: The lab will test the bacteria causing your pneumonia to determine which antibiotics it is sensitive or resistant to.
Doctors typically choose your antibiotics prescription based on what medicines they think will be most effective and cause the fewest side effects.
Search Methods For Identification Of Studies
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 ClinicalTrials.gov 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.
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What Works To Treat Acute Bronchitis
Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen , , or may help ease some of the chest discomfort that comes with acute bronchitis, as well as headache.
However, inhalers, cough suppressants, and decongestants may not be as effective. Studies show that inhalers like arent helpful for treating acute bronchitis. Likewise, prescription cough suppressants like and codeine cough syrups may work but not very well. And over-the-counter medications like , , and were found in studies to be ineffective for acute coughs.
Actually, honey suppresses cough better than over-the-counter meds in children by forming a soothing film over irritated throats.
Factors That Increase Risk Of Bronchitis:
Cigarette smoker or smoking: People who smoke or who live with smokers are at higher risk of both chronic and acute bronchitis.
Low resistance: This is also another type of acute illness like cold or from a chronic condition that impacts the immune system.
Exposure to irritants on the job: People may have a risk of developing bronchitis who work around certain lung irritants like grains or textiles, or are near to chemical fumes.
Gastric reflux: Repeated bouts of heartburn can irritate the throat and make a person more prone to develop bronchitis.
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How Is Acute Bronchitis Spread
If bronchitis is caused by a viral or bacterial infection, it is spread the same ways that colds are spreadby germs traveling through the air when someone coughs or sneezes. You can breathe the germs in if you are close enough. You could also touch something that has germs on it, like a door, and then transfer the germs by touching your nose, mouth or eyes. That is why good hand washing practices are important for adults and children.
Personal Stories About Taking Antibiotics For Acute Bronchitis
These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.
I was diagnosed with acute bronchitis after having the flu. Although I know people who have used antibiotics for this condition, my doctor told me that antibiotics would not be effective for acute bronchitis caused by a viral infection. She suggested I take cough medicine for my cough if necessary. This made sense to me.
Paula, age 26
I have asthma. When I was diagnosed with acute bronchitis, my doctor felt that because of the asthma, and my age, that I was at risk for pneumonia. He suggested a course of antibiotics, and I agreed.
Josef, age 67
When I was diagnosed with acute bronchitis, I thought I’d get some antibiotics and that would be the end of it. My doctor explained that this might shorten my cough by a day but really would do no more. One day is not worth the hassle and cost of antibiotics, so I just used cough medicine.
Theo, age 46
I guess acute bronchitis usually goes away in a couple of weeks, so my doctor suggested I treat my symptoms at home. But it’s been about a month and I’m still coughing and feeling bad. We are going to try some antibiotics.
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Why It Is Important To Do This Review
Some estimate of the probable effectiveness of antibiotic therapy for acute bronchitis is needed given the frequent occurrence of the condition. If found to be effective, antibiotics could shorten the course of the disease and consequently reduce the associated loss of productive work time. However, any benefit from antibiotics must be weighed against the possibility that excessive antibiotic use will lead to increases in cost and patient morbidity, as well as the development of resistant strains of common organisms, , and unnecessary medicalisation of individuals with a self limiting illness . If antibiotics are found to be ineffective, then their use should be discontinued.
Data Collection And Analysis
Selection of studies
One review author evaluated the titles and abstracts of the identified citations and applied the inclusion criteria. We obtained the full papers of trials deemed potentially relevant for further examination. Two review authors screened the fulltext papers to determine if they met the inclusion criteria. We discarded reports that were clearly irrelevant. We recorded studies that did not fulfil the inclusion criteria along with the reasons for their exclusion in the table..
Data extraction and management
Two or more review authors independently extracted data using a data collection form designed for this review. Any disagreements were resolved by discussion between the review authors. We transferred data into Review Manager 5 .
Assessment of risk of bias in included studies
Two review authors evaluated the methodological quality of each trial using Risk of Bias domains recommended in the Cochrane Handook as outlined in and . Disagreements were resolved by consensus.
‘Risk of bias’ graph: review authors’ judgements about each methodological quality item presented as percentages across all included studies.
Measures of treatment effect
The effect measures of choice were risk ratio for categorical outcomes and mean difference for continuous data.
Unit of analysis issues
Dealing with missing data
Assessment of heterogeneity
Assessment of reporting biases
GRADE and ‘Summary of findings’ table
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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.
Which Children Are At Risk For Acute Bronchitis
Children who have a higher chance of developing acute bronchitis are those who have:
These symptoms often last 7 to 14 days. But the cough may continue for 3 to 4 weeks. These symptoms may look like other health problems. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
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Key Points To Remember
- Bronchitis is usually caused by a virus and often follows a cold or flu. Antibiotics usually do not help acute bronchitis, and they may be harmful.
- Experts recommend that you not use antibiotics to try to relieve symptoms of acute bronchitis if you have no other health problems.
- 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.
- Taking antibiotics too often or when you donât need them can be harmful. Not taking the full course of antibiotics when your doctor prescribes them also can be harmful. The medicine may not work the next time you take it when you really do need it. This is called antibiotic resistance.
- Antibiotics may help prevent complications from acute bronchitis in people who have other problems, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , other long-term breathing problems , or heart failure.
Can Acute Bronchitis Be Prevented Or Avoided
You can help prevent acute bronchitis by staying healthy and avoiding germs. Wash your hands with soap often to kill any contagious viruses.
If you smoke, the best defense against acute bronchitis is to quit. Smoking damages your bronchial tubes and puts you at risk for infection. Smoking also slows down the healing process.
Other steps you can take to avoid acute bronchitis include:
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when using lung irritants. These could include paint, paint remover, or varnish.
- Ask your doctor if you should get a pneumonia shot, especially if you are over age 60.
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How Is Bronchitis Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will do a physical examination and take a medical history. They may ask if you have had a cold recently, how long your cough has lasted, and if you produce mucus when you cough. In addition, they may order a chest X-ray, tests for viruses in your upper respiratory secretions or blood tests.
Agreements And Disagreements With Other Studies Or Reviews
In the current update of the review we have included a large multi country trial that shows no benefits from antibiotics even in older patients. Further analyses of the data from this study are ongoing as part of Workpackage 10 of the GRACE program . It should be noted that a recent large observational study examining symptom resolution in 2714 people with acute cough who had been prescribed amoxicillin across 13 European countries found that symptom resolution was quicker in those receiving no antibiotic .
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How Long Does It Take For Bronchitis To Go Away
Acute bronchitis usually resolves spontaneously with supportive care. If wheezing and shortness of breath occurs seek medical care. People who have underlying lung conditions, the inflammation can cause lung tissue to function improperly. Pneumonia or infection of the lung tissue itself may develop.
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Sulfamethoxazole And Trimethoprim Combination
The last of the antibiotics for bronchitis in this list is sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim combination. This is a synthetic antibacterial combination drug. It is usually used to treat a more chronic bronchitis in adults. The most common side effects of this medication include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite.
This medication should not be taken by patients who have a sensitivity or allergy to rimethoprim or sulfonamides.
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What Matters Most To You
Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.
Reasons to take antibiotics
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What Medications Are Used To Treat Chronic Bronchitis/copd
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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Description Of The Condition
Acute bronchitis is a common illness characterised by fever and cough that is often wheezy in nature and that may or may not be productive. The condition occurs when the bronchi become inflamed due to either viral or bacterial infection. Symptoms generally last for two weeks, but the associated cough can last for up to eight weeks . Acute bronchitis is the ninth most common outpatient illness recorded by physicians in ambulatory practice in the USA , and the fifth most common outpatient illness encountered by Australian general practitioners, for whom it represents 3.5% of encounters and 2.4% of problems seen . In the UK, there are 300 to 400 consultations for treatment of respiratory tract infections per 1000 registered patients each year, and while antibiotic prescribing for these conditions declined between 1995 and 2000, it has since stabilised . Data provided by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control on trends in antimicrobial consumption across Europe suggests that overall antibiotic use varies across Europe, with most countries showing an increase between 1997 and 2010 .
Why Does Bronchitis Occur
Acute bronchitis is sometimes referred to as a chest cold. It can develop after an upper respiratory infection , which you probably know better as the common cold.
Bronchitis occurs when the airways that carry air to your lungs, called the bronchial tubes, become inflamed and irritated. Your bronchial tubes produce excess mucus and cause coughing when they become inflamed.
Usually acute bronchitis is not serious. If it isnt treated properly it can develop into pneumonia.
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