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Bronchitis

Inflammation - bronchi; Acute bronchitis


Last reviewed: April 27, 2010.

Bronchitis is inflammation of the main air passages to the lungs. Bronchitis may e short!lived "acute# or chronic, meaning that it lasts a long time and often recurs. $ee also: %hronic o structive pulmonary disease "%&'(#

Causes, incidence, and risk factors


Acute ronchitis generally follows a viral respiratory infection. At first, it affects your nose, sinuses, and throat and then spreads to the lungs. $ometimes, you may get another "secondary# acterial infection in the airways.)his means that acteria infect the airways, in addition to the virus. 'eople at ris* for acute ronchitis include: )he elderly, infants, and young children 'ersons with heart or lung disease $mo*ers %hronic ronchitis is a long!term condition. 'eople have a cough that produces e+cessive mucus. )o e diagnosed with chronic ronchitis, you must have a cough with mucus most days of the month for at least , months. %hronic ronchitis is one type of chronic o structive pulmonary disease, or %&'( for short. "-mphysema is another type of %&'(.# )he following things can ma*e ronchitis worse: Air pollution
Allergies

%ertain occupations "such as coal mining, te+tile manufacturing, or grain handling# .nfections

Symptoms
)he symptoms of either type of ronchitis may include: %hest discomfort %ough that produces mucus/ if it0s yellow!green, you are more li*ely to

have a acterial infection 1atigue 1ever !! usually low $hortness of reath worsened y e+ertion or mild activity
2hee3ing

-ven after acute ronchitis has cleared, you may have a dry, nagging cough that lingers for several wee*s. Additional symptoms of chronic ronchitis include: An*le, feet, and leg swelling
Blue!colored lips from low levels of o+ygen

1re4uent respiratory infections "such as colds or the flu#

Signs and tests


)he health care provider will listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. A normal sounds in the lungs called rales or other a normal reathing sounds may e heard. )ests may include: %hest +!ray
Lung function tests provide information that is useful for diagnosis and

your outloo*. 'ulse o+imetry helps determine the amount of o+ygen in your lood. )his 4uic* and painless test uses a device that is placed onto the end of your finger. Arterial lood gas is a more e+act measurement of o+ygen and car on dio+ide levels, ut it re4uires a needle stic* and is more painful. $putum samples may e ta*en to chec* for signs of inflammation or acterial infection.

Treatment
5ou (& 6&) need anti iotics for acute ronchitis caused y a virus. )he infection will generally go away on its own within 1 wee*. )a*e the following steps for some relief: (o not smo*e (rin* plenty of fluids

7est
)a*e aspirin or acetaminophen ")ylenol# if you have a fever. (& 6&)

give aspirin to children 8se a humidifier or steam in the athroom .f your symptoms do not improve, your doctor may prescri e an inhaler to open your airways if you are whee3ing. .f your doctor thin*s that you have a secondary acterial infection, anti iotics may e prescri ed. 9ost of the time, anti iotics are not needed or recommended. 1or any ronchitis, the most important step you can ta*e is to :8.) smo*ing. .f ronchitis is caught early enough, you can prevent the damage to your lungs.

E pectations !prognosis"
1or acute ronchitis, symptoms usually go away within 7 to 10 days if you do not have an underlying lung disorder. ;owever, a dry, hac*ing cough can linger for a num er of months. )he chance for recovery is poor for persons with advanced chronic ronchitis. -arly recognition and treatment, com ined with smo*ing cessation, significantly improve the chance of a good outcome.

Complications
'neumonia can develop from either acute or chronic ronchitis. .f you have chronic ronchitis, you are more li*ely to develop recurrent respiratory infections. 5ou may also develop: -mphysema
7ight!sided heart failure or cor pulmonale

'ulmonary hypertension

Calling your health care pro#ider


%all your doctor if: 5ou have a cough most days or you have a cough that returns fre4uently 5ou are coughing up lood 5ou have a high fever or sha*ing chills 5ou have a low!grade fever for , or more days 5ou have thic*, greenish mucus, especially if it has a ad smell

5ou feel short of reath or have chest pain 5ou have an underlying chronic illness, li*e heart or lung disease

$re#ention
(& 6&) smo*e. <et a yearly flu vaccine and a pneumococcal vaccine as directed y your doctor. 7educe your e+posure to air pollution. 2ash your hands "and your children0s hands# fre4uently to avoid spreading viruses and other infections.

%eferences
Braman $$. (iagnosis and management of cough: A%%' -vidence!Based %linical 'ractice <uidelines. Chest. 200=/12>:1$!2,$. ?'u 9ed@ 2.<waltney A9. Acute ronchitis. .n: 9andell <L, Bennett A-, (olin 7, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. =th ed. 'hiladelphia, 'a: -lsevier %hurchill Livingstone/ 200B:chap BC.
1.
7eview (ate: DE27E2010.

7eviewed y: Allen A. Blaivas, (&, %linical Assistant 'rofessor of 9edicine, 89(6A!6A9$, Attending ' and $leep 9edicine, (epartment of Feterans Affairs, FA 6ew Aersey ;ealth %are $ystem, -ast &range, 6etwor*. Also reviewed y (avid Gieve, 9(, 9;A, 9edical (irector, A.(.A.9., .nc.

Bronchitis &#er#ie'

Bronchitis is an acute inflammation of the air passages within the lungs. .t occurs when the trachea "windpipe# and the large and small ronchi "airways# within the lungs ecome inflamed ecause of infection or irritation from other causes. )he thin mucous lining of these airways can ecome irritated and swollen. )he cells that ma*e up this lining may lea* fluids in response to the inflammation. %oughing is a refle+ that wor*s to clear secretions from the lungs. &ften the discomfort of a severe cough leads a person to see* medical treatment. Both adults and children can get ronchitis. $ymptoms are similar for oth. .nfants usually get ronchiolitis, which involves the smaller airways and causes symptoms similar to asthma. Asthmatic ronchitis occurs when asthma and ronchitis coe+ist. Asthma is an inflammatory airway condition that leads to tightening of the muscles around the airways and swelling, oth of which cause the airways to narrow. .n com ination with the inflammation of the inner lining of the airways and mucus production this can lead to severe whee3ing and shortness of reath.

Bronchitis Causes
Bronchitis occurs most often during the cold and flu season, usually coupled with an upper respiratory infection.
$everal viruses cause ronchitis, including influen3a A and B,

commonly referred to as Hthe flu.H A num er of acteria are also *nown to cause ronchitis, such as Mycoplasma pneumoniae, which causes so!called Hwal*ing

pneumonia.H
Bronchitis also can occur when a person inhales irritating fumes or

dust. %hemical solvents and smo*e, including to acco smo*e, have een lin*ed to acute ronchitis. 'eople at increased ris* oth of getting ronchitis and of having more severe symptoms include the elderly, those with wea*ened immune systems, smo*ers, and anyone with repeated e+posure to lung irritants.

Is Bronchitis Contagious(

Bronchitis descri es a group of symptoms "including airway inflammation, over!production of phlegm, cough#, which can have various causes. .f the cause of the ronchitis is viral or acterial, it can e contagious. .f the cause of the ronchitis is due to smo*ing, air pollution, or other inhaled irritants, it is not contagious.

Bronchitis Symptoms

Acute ronchitis most commonly occurs after an upper respiratory infection such as the common cold or a sinus infection. )he affected person may have symptoms such as fever with chills, muscle aches, nasal congestion, and sore throat.
%ough is a common symptom of ronchitis. )he cough may e dry or

may produce phlegm. $ignificant phlegm production suggests that the lower respiratory tract and the lung itself may e infected, and you may have symptoms that suggest pneumonia. )he cough may last for more than 2 wee*s. %ontinued forceful coughing may ma*e your chest and a dominal muscles sore. %oughing can e severe enough at times to inIure the chest wall or even cause a person to pass out "faint#. 2hee3ing may occur ecause of the muscular tightness and inflammation of the airways. )his may leave the affected individual short of reath. Asthmatic ronchitis symptoms include a com ination of whee3ing and shortness of reath, in addition to the other symptoms of ronchitis.

)hen to Seek *edical Care

)hen to call the doctor for bronchitis

Although most cases of ronchitis resolve on their own, some people may have complications/ however, their health care practitioner can relieve some of these symptoms.

$evere coughing that interferes with rest or sleep can e reduced with

prescription cough medications. 2hee3ing may respond to an inhaler with al uterol "'roventil, Fentolin# or fluticasone and salmeterol "Advair#, which dilates the airways. .f fever continues eyond D to B days, see the doctor for a physical e+amination to rule out pneumonia. $ee a health care practitioner if the patient is coughing up lood, rust! colored sputum, or an increased amount of green phlegm. )hen to go to the hospital for bronchitis .f the patient e+periences difficulty reathing with or without whee3ing and they cannot reach their doctor, go to a hospital0s emergency department for evaluation and treatment. If any of the symptoms become se#ere, call +,, for immediate treatment and transport to a hospital-s emergency department.

Bronchitis /iagnosis

(octors diagnose ronchitis generally on the asis of symptoms and a physical e+amination. 8sually no lood tests are necessary. .f the doctor suspects the patient has pneumonia, a chest J!ray may e ordered. (octors may measure the patient0s o+ygen saturation "how well o+ygen is reaching lood cells# using a sensor placed on a finger. )his is referred to as pulse o+imetry.

$ometimes a doctor may order an e+amination andEor culture of a sample of phlegm that is coughed up to loo* for acteria.

Bronchitis Treatment

Bronchitis Self-Care at 0ome

By far, the maIority of cases of ronchitis stem from viral infections. )his means that most cases of ronchitis are short!term and re4uire nothing more than treatment of symptoms to relieve discomfort. Anti iotics will not cure a viral illness. 0 -+perts in in the field of infectious disease have een warning for years that overuse of anti iotics is allowing many acteria to ecome resistant to the anti iotics availa le. 1 (octors often prescri e anti iotics ecause they feel pressured y patient0s e+pectations to receive them. )his e+pectation has een fueled y oth misinformation in the media and mar*eting y drug companies. (on0t e+pect to receive a prescription for an anti iotic if your infection is caused y a virus. Acetaminophen ")ylenol#, aspirin, i uprofen "9otrin, 6uprin, Advil#, or napro+en "Aleve# will help with fever and muscle aches. (rin*ing fluids is very important ecause fever causes the ody to lose fluid faster. Lung secretions will e thinner and easier to clear when the patient is well hydrated. A cool mist vapori3er or humidifier can help decrease ronchial irritation. An over!the!counter "&)%# cough suppressant may e helpful. 'reparations with guaifenesin "7o itussin, Breonesin, 9ucine+# will loosen secretions/ de+tromethorphan!the H(9H in most over the counter medications "Benylin, 'ertussin, )rocal, Fic*s DD# suppresses cough. 6atural treatments for ronchitis include honey, lemon, ginger, ay leaf, and almonds. -ach of these foods has properties that reportedly reduce symptoms of ronchitis. %onsult your health care practitioner efore ta*ing or using any natural remedies.

Bronchitis *edical Treatment

)reatment of ronchitis can differ depending on the suspected cause. 9edications to help suppress the cough or loosen and clear secretions may e helpful. .f the patient has severe coughing spells they cannot control, see the doctor for prescription strength cough suppressants. .n some cases only these stronger cough suppressants can stop a vicious cycle of coughing leading to more irritation of the ronchial tu es, which in turn causes more coughing. Bronchodilator inhalers will help open airways and decrease whee3ing. )hough anti iotics play a limited role in treating ronchitis, they ecome necessary in some situations. 0 .n particular, if the doctor suspects a acterial infection, anti iotics will e prescri ed. 1 'eople with chronic lung pro lems also usually are treated with anti iotics. .n rare cases, the patient may e hospitali3ed if they e+perience reathing difficulty that doesn0t respond to treatment. )his usually occurs ecause of a complication of ronchitis, not ronchitis itself.

Bronchitis 1ollo'-up

)he affected individual should follow up with their doctor within a wee* after treatment for ronchitis, or sooner if the symptoms worsen or do not improve. %all the doctor0s office if any new pro lems occur.

Bronchitis $re#ention

$top smo*ing. )he dangers of secondhand smo*e are well documented. %hildren should never e e+posed to secondhand smo*e inside the home. Avoid e+posure to irritants. 'roper protection in the wor*place is vital to preventing e+posure. Avoiding long e+posure to air pollution from heavy traffic may help prevent ronchitis.

Bronchitis $rognosis
6early all cases of acute ronchitis clear up completely over time. .n the case of ronchitis caused y e+posure to respiratory irritants, all the person may need to do is *eep away from the cause of irritation. $mo*ing cessation is recommended to prevent development of chronic ronchitis or other chronic lung disease such as emphysema. %hronic ronchitis, as its name suggests, can cause symptoms for prolonged periods and lead to other de ilitating lung conditions.

Is this topic for you( )his topic is a out acute ronchitis in people who don0t have other health pro lems. Acute ronchitis may e treated differently if you have a long!term lung disease, such as chronic o structive pulmonary disease "%&'(#. 1or more information, see the topics %hronic & structive 'ulmonary (isease "%&'(# and 'neumonia. )hat is bronchitis( Bronchitis means that the tu es that carry air to the lungs "the ronchial tu es# are inflamed and irritated. 2hen this happens, the tu es swell and produce mucus. )his ma*es you cough. )here are two types of ronchitis: Acute ronchitis usually comes on 4uic*ly and gets etter after 2 to , wee*s. 9ost healthy people who get acute ronchitis get etter without any pro lems. $ee a picture of acute ronchitis. %hronic ronchitis *eeps coming ac* and can last a long time,

especially in people who smo*e. %hronic ronchitis means you have a cough with mucus most days of the month for , months of the year for at least 2 years in a row. )his topic focuses on acute ronchitis. Both children and adults can get acute ronchitis. )hat causes acute bronchitis( Acute ronchitis is usually caused y a virus. &ften a person gets acute ronchitis after having an upper respiratory tract infection such as a cold or the flu. .n rare cases, acute ronchitis is caused y acteria. Acute ronchitis also can e caused y reathing in things that irritate the ronchial tu es, such as smo*e. .t also can happen if a person inhales food or vomit into the lungs. )hat are the symptoms( )he most common symptom of acute ronchitis is a cough that is dry and hac*ing at first. After a few days, the cough may ring up mucus. 5ou may have a low fever and feel tired. Acute ronchitis symptoms usually start , or D days after an upper respiratory tract infection. 9ost people get etter in 2 to , wee*s. But some people continue to have a cough for more than D wee*s. 'neumonia can have symptoms li*e acute ronchitis. Because pneumonia can e serious, it is important to *now the differences etween the two illnesses. $ymptoms of pneumonia can include a high fever, sha*ing chills, and shortness of reath. 0o' is acute bronchitis diagnosed( 5our doctor will as* you a out your symptoms and e+amine you. )his usually gives the doctor enough information to find out if you have acute ronchitis. .n some cases, the doctor may ta*e a chest J!ray to ma*e sure that you don0t have pneumonia or another lung pro lem. 0o' is it treated( 9ost people can treat symptoms of acute ronchitis at home. (rin* plenty of fluids. 8se an over!the!counter cough medicine with an e+pectorant if your doctor recommends it. )his can help you ring up mucus when you cough. $uc* on cough drops or hard candies to

soothe a dry or sore throat. %ough drops won0t stop your cough, ut they may ma*e your throat feel etter. 9ost people don0t need anti iotics for acute ronchitis. %hec* with your doctor if you have heart or lung disease, such as heart failure, %&'(, or asthma. 5ou may need more treatment.

Cause

Acute ronchitis is usually caused y a virus. .t is more common during the winter months and often develops after an upper respiratory illness such as influen3a "flu# or a cold caused y a virus such as coronavirus, adenovirus, or a rhinovirus. 7espiratory syncytial virus "7$F# may e a cause, especially in adults older than =B. A out 10K of the time, acute ronchitis is caused y acteria.1 Acute ronchitis can also e caused y e+posure to smo*e, chemicals, or air pollution, all of which can irritate the ronchial tu es. .t can also develop from accidentally inhaling "aspirating# food or vomit. $ee a picture of acute ronchitis.

0o' acute bronchitis is spread


Acute ronchitis is spread when an infected person coughs, snee3es, or tal*s and li4uid droplets containing virus particles or acteria are released into the air and onto o Iects. )hen you may: Breathe air that contains the virus particles or acteria. )ouch an o Iect that has een touched y an infected person and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands.

Symptoms

$ymptoms of acute ronchitis usually egin , to D days after an upper respiratory infection, such as a cold or influen3a "flu#. $ymptoms usually include:
A cough, which is the main symptom of acute ronchitis. .t may e dry

at first "does not produce mucus# and after a few days may ring

up mucus from the lungs "productive cough#. )he mucus may e clear, yellow, or green. $ometimes, small strea*s of lood may e present. A mild fever, usually less than 101L1 ",C.,L%#. A higher fever may indicate pneumonia. A general feeling of tiredness. A sensation of tightness, urning, or dull pain in the chest under the reast one that usually is worse when reathing deeply or coughing. 2histling noises "whee3ing# when reathing, especially during physical e+ertion. ;oarseness. 9ost cases of acute ronchitis in otherwise healthy people last only 2 to , wee*s. But more than 20K of people with acute ronchitis have a cough that lasts more than D wee*s.2 &ften it is hard to tell the difference etween viral and acterial forms of acute ronchitis, and many conditions have symptoms similar to acute ronchitis, such as asthma and pneumonia. Because pneumonia can e a serious complication, it is important to *now the differences etween acute ronchitis and pneumonia. 1or e+ample, a high fever, sha*ing chills, and shortness of reath often occur with pneumonia ut not with acute ronchitis.

)hat 0appens

Acute ronchitis is inflammation of the tu es that carry air to the lungs " ronchial tu es#. .t is usually caused y a virus and follows an upper respiratory tract infection such as a cold or influen3a "flu#. )he infection moves from the nose, mouth, and throat to the ronchial tu es, causing the tu es to swell and mucus production to increase. At first, a dry, hac*ing cough is present. After a few days, the cough may ring up mucus from the lungs. )he swollen tu es and increase in mucus may ma*e it harder for you to reathe. $ee a picture of acute ronchitis. 9ost cases of acute ronchitis in otherwise healthy people last only 2 to , wee*s. But more than 20 out of 100 people with acute ronchitis have a cough that lasts more than D wee*s.2 ;ow soon you get etter depends on several things, including:

5our age and health. )he organism causing the infection. Acute ronchitis from a viral cause is usually less severe than from a acterial cause. 2hether you smo*e.

Complications
9ost people get etter without having complications. .f complications occur, they include:
'neumonia. Acute ronchitis that gets worse "increased fatigue, high

fever, chest pain, and increased shortness of reath# usually means that pneumonia has developed. 7epeated episodes of acterial acute ronchitis. )his condition commonly occurs in people who smo*e and in people with immune system pro lems, such as ;.F infection, cystic fi rosis, or cancer. .f you have a long!term "chronic# respiratory disease, such as asthma, acute ronchitis can ma*e your coughing and whee3ing worse and can increase the ris* of having complications. .n this case, acute ronchitis is a more serious pro lem and may e treated differently. %hildren and older adults are most at ris* for complications. %hildren who have repeated outs of acute ronchitis need to e evaluated to see whether they may have a foreign o Iect in the air passage. %hildren may also e evaluated for asthma or other respiratory tract pro lems, such as: %ystic fi rosis, an inherited disease that results in the production of thic* mucus in the lungs. Bronchiectasis, a lung condition in which the airways of the lungs are damaged, get igger, and are fre4uently infected. A common symptom is a cough that rings up mucus. Allergies, which are an immune system reaction to usually harmless su stances. $ymptoms include cough and difficulty reathing. Allergic rhinitis "hay fever# is a common allergy. $inusitis, an infection of the mucous mem ranes that line the inside of the nose and facial sinuses. $ymptoms include pain and a chronic cough that produces mucus. Adenoiditis, an inflammation of the adenoids, which are small masses of tissue at the ac* of the nose and throat.

)hat Increases 2our %isk

$ome things increase your ris* for acute ronchitis.

%isk factors you cannot change


)hese include:
%hronic medical conditions, especially lung "pulmonary# diseases

such as chronic o structive pulmonary disease "%&'(#, cystic fi rosis, or asthma. .n this case, acute ronchitis may e a more serious pro lem and may e treated differently. $ome conditions that cause immune system pro lems, such as dia etes and ;.F infection. An impaired immune system wea*ens the ody0s a ility to fight infection. A history of recent upper respiratory infection, particularly sinusitis, a cold, or influen3a "flu#. An upper respiratory infection can spread to the lungs. Allergies, such as allergic rhinitis. An inIury to the chest wall, such as a ri fracture.

%isk factors you can change


)hese include:
$mo*ing or living with someone who smo*es. $mo*ing or reathing

secondhand smo*e ma*es the respiratory system less effective at removing organisms from the lower airways. Living or wor*ing in an area with high levels of air pollution, chemicals, or dust. Breathing in these irritants may ma*e the respiratory system less effective at removing organisms from the lower airways.

)hen To Call a /octor

Call or other emergency ser#ices immediately if:


5ou have chest pain that is crushing or s4uee3ing, is increasing in

intensity, or occurs with any other symptoms of a heart attac*. 5ou have severe difficulty reathing. 5ou are coughing up large amounts of lood "more than strea*s of lood or lood mi+ed with mucus#. %all your doctor today if you: 1eel short of reath, even when at rest. 6otice new or increasing whistling sounds when reathing "whee3ing# or difficulty reathing, even at rest.

;ave a cough that fre4uently produces yellow or green sputum from the lungs "not postnasal drainage#, lasts longer than 2 days, and occurs along with a fever of 101L1 ",C.,L%# or higher. Are coughing up small strea*s of lood. (evelop symptoms of acute ronchitis and you have a chronic lung disease such as asthma or chronic o structive pulmonary disease "%&'(#. %all your doctor in 1 to 2 days if you: 6otice increased shortness of reath after any physical activity. ;ave a cough that causes you to vomit fre4uently. ;ave a cough that has lasted longer than D wee*s. Are eing treated for acute ronchitis and your symptoms have not improved after 1D days of treatment.

)atchful 'aiting
2atchful waiting is a period of time during which you and your doctor o serve your symptoms or condition without using medical treatment. 2atchful waiting is often appropriate in otherwise healthy people with acute ronchitis unless you have: A persistent cough and increasing amounts of mucus eing coughed up from the lungs "especially if the mucus is ecoming thic*er and has more color#. $hortness of reath. 'ain in the chest. &ngoing fever or fever that gets worse.

)ho to see
Acute ronchitis can e diagnosed and treated y most health professionals, including: 1amily medicine doctors. <eneral practitioners. .nternists. 'ediatricians. 6urse practitioners. 'hysician assistants. .f you have complications, such as pneumonia or repeated episodes of acute ronchitis caused y acteria, you may go to a pulmonologist for diagnosis and treatment. %omplications rarely occur. To prepare for your appointment, see the topic *aking the *ost of 2our Appointment.

E ams and Tests

)here are no routine tests to diagnose acute ronchitis. (iagnosis is usually ased on your medical history, including your symptoms, and a physical e+am. 5our doctor will ma*e sure you do not have pneumonia or ris* factors for more serious diseases, such as chronic o structive pulmonary disease "%&'(#, that may affect treatment. .f your doctor feels that your acute ronchitis is caused y: A virus, then no more testing is needed in most cases. Bacteria, then more testing may e done and anti iotics may e prescri ed. 9ore testing may e needed for infants and people older than =B, or if: Acute ronchitis does not clear up in 2 to , wee*s. 'neumonia, heart failure, or tu erculosis is suspected or has een recently diagnosed. 5our immune system is not functioning well "impaired immune system#. 'eople with immune pro lems are more li*ely to develop complications, such as pneumonia. 5ou have a chronic respiratory disease, such as asthma or chronic o structive pulmonary disease "%&'(#. 5ou do not get etter with anti iotic therapy, or you re4uire hospitali3ation. 5ou have a heart rate greater than 100 eats per minute, a respiratory rate greater than 2D reaths per minute, and a fever greater than 100.DL1 ",CL%#. 2hooping cough, a acterial infection of the respiratory system, is suspected. .nfluen3a "flu#, a viral upper respiratory illness, is suspected. $ometimes other tests may e needed. )hese tests may include: %hest J!ray. )he result of a chest J!ray of people who have acute ronchitis is usually normal. <ram stain and culture and sensitivity of the mucus from the lungs. )hese tests may help your doctor find out if acteria are causing the infection and which anti iotic will e effective. &ther tests, including tests to measure lood o+ygen levels and tests that can help identify acteria and viruses. )he test results can help your doctor *now whether acute ronchitis is seriously harming lung

Treatment &#er#ie'

)reatment for acute ronchitis in otherwise healthy people usually includes ta*ing steps to reduce cough, fever, and pain. 'rescription medicines, such as anti iotics, generally are not eneficial. .f you already have a disease, such as chronic o structive pulmonary disease "%&'(#, heart failure, or asthma, evaluation and treatment may e more e+tensive. 9ost cases of acute ronchitis go away in 2 to , wee*s, ut some may last more than D wee*s. ;ome treatment to relieve symptoms is usually all that is needed. )his includes: $topping smo*ing, if you smo*e, and not letting other people smo*e around you. 7elieving your cough y drin*ing fluids, using cough drops, and avoiding lung irritants. &ver!the!counter cough suppressants may help you to stop coughing. And e+pectorants may ma*e coughing easier so you can ring up mucus. %ough and cold medicines may not e safe for young children or for people who have certain health pro lems. Before you use them, chec* the la el. .f you do use these medicines, always follow the directions a out how much to use ased on age and in some cases weight. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol, which cause you to lose e+tra fluid from your ody and may lead to dehydration. <etting enough rest so your ody has the energy needed to fight the infection. .n general, you feel etter sooner if you rest more than usual while you have acute ronchitis. 8sing nonprescription medicine, such as acetaminophen, i uprofen, or aspirin, to relieve fever and ody aches. 1ollow all directions on the la el. .f you give medicine to your a y, follow your doctor0s advice a out what amount to give. (o not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 ecause of the ris* of 7eye syndrome, a rare ut serious disease. Breathing moist air from a humidifier, hot shower, or sin* filled with hot water. )he heat and moisture can help *eep mucus in your airways moist so it can e coughed out easily. .f prescription medicines are re4uired, they may include: .nhaled eta2!agonists, which open up "dilate# the airways and may relieve coughing in people with asthma or %&'( who have a hard time reathing. But the possi le enefit should e weighed against possi le side effects of sha*ing, tremor, and nervousness.

Anti iotics, which may e used to treat people who are at increased ris* for complications from acute ronchitis. )hey may also e used if symptoms do not improve after using a eta2!agonist and home treatment. 1or acute ronchitis in otherwise healthy people, anti iotics typically are not eneficial. 1or more information, see: Bronchitis: $hould . )a*e Anti ioticsM

)hat to Think About


9ost cases of acute ronchitis are caused y viruses, which are not affected y anti iotics. 8sing anti iotics when they are not needed is e+pensive, it can lead to side effects from anti iotic therapy, and some acteria may ecome resistant to the anti iotic. )his resistance may ma*e the anti iotic less effective the ne+t time it is used. )al* to your doctor a out anti iotics. 1ind out whether they are needed and what their enefits and ris*s are in treating acute ronchitis. .t is important to see* medical care if you have a long!term "chronic# lung disease such as asthma or chronic o structive pulmonary disease "%&'(# and you have signs of acute ronchitis. -arly treatment of acute ronchitis may prevent complications, such as pneumonia or repeated episodes of acute ronchitis caused y acteria. )his commonly occurs in people who smo*e and in people with immune system pro lems, such as ;.F infection, cystic fi rosis, and cancer.

$re#ention

5ou can help prevent acute ronchitis. Avoid cigarette smo*e. .f you smo*e, stop. 'eople who smo*e or are around others who smo*e have more fre4uent outs of acute ronchitis. $mo*e "including secondhand smo*e# reduces the ody0s a ility to remove acteria and viruses that can cause infections in the lungs. 2ear a face mas* while wor*ing around irritants, such as dust. $pecially designed mas*s are availa le to filter out dangerous chemicals or dust. Avoid contact with those who have an upper respiratory tract infection, such as a cold, especially if you have an impaired immune

system or another medical condition. 2ash your hands often during the cold and flu season. .f you catch a cold or influen3a "flu#, you are at an even higher ris* for getting ronchitis. (iscuss with your doctor whether you should get a vaccine for the flu. .f you have an upper respiratory tract infection, it may help to: <et plenty of rest. (rin* enough li4uids to avoid getting dehydrated.

0ome Treatment

9ost cases of acute ronchitis go away in 2 to , wee*s. ;ome treatment may help you feel etter. ;ome treatment may include:
7elieving your cough y drin*ing fluids, using cough drops, and

avoiding lung irritants. &ver!the!counter cough suppressants may help you to stop coughing. And e+pectorants may ma*e coughing easier so you can ring up mucus. %ough and cold medicines may not e safe for young children or for people who have certain health pro lems. Before you use them, chec* the la el. .f you do use these medicines, always follow the directions a out how much to use ased on age and in some cases weight. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol, which cause you to lose e+tra fluid from your ody and may lead to dehydration. %utting ac* or stopping smo*ing, if you smo*e. <etting enough rest so your ody has the energy needed to fight the infection. .n general, you feel etter sooner if you rest more than usual while you have acute ronchitis. 8sing nonprescription medicine, such as acetaminophen, i uprofen, or aspirin, to relieve fever and ody aches. (o not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20. Breathing moist air from a humidifier, hot shower, or sin* filled with hot water. )he heat and moisture can help *eep mucus in your airways moist so it can e coughed out easily. %ontact your doctor if your acute ronchitis gets worse, ecause this may mean you have pneumonia. $igns of acute ronchitis getting worse include: A persistent cough and increasing amounts of mucus eing coughed up from the lungs "especially if the mucus is ecoming thic*er and has more color#.

$hortness of reath. 'ain in the chest wall. &ngoing fever or fever that gets worse.

*edications

9ost cases of acute ronchitis in otherwise healthy people go away in 2 to , wee*s. 5ou typically only need nonprescription medicines to treat your symptoms. 9ost people do not need to use prescription medicines, such as anti iotics.

*edication Choices
&ver!the!counter cough suppressants may help you to stop coughing.

And e+pectorants may ma*e coughing easier so you can ring up mucus. %ough and cold medicines may not e safe for young children or for people who have certain health pro lems. Before you use them, chec* the la el. .f you do use these medicines, always follow the directions a out how much to use ased on age and in some cases weight. 6onprescription pain relievers and fever reducers, such as aspirin, i uprofen, or acetaminophen. (o not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20. 5our doctor may prescri e: .nhaled eta2!agonists, such as al uterol, which open up the airways and may relieve coughing in people with asthma or %&'( who have a hard time reathing. But the possi le enefits should e weighed against possi le side effects of sha*ing, tremor, and nervousness. Anti iotics, which may e used to treat people who are at increased ris* for complications from acute ronchitis. 1or acute ronchitis in otherwise healthy people, anti iotics generally are not eneficial. 1or more information, see: Bronchitis: $hould . )a*e Anti ioticsM

)hat to Think About


9ost cases of acute ronchitis are caused y viruses, which are not affected y anti iotics. 8sing anti iotics when they are not needed is e+pensive, it can lead to side effects from anti iotic therapy, and some acteria may ecome resistant to the anti iotic. )his resistance may ma*e the anti iotic less effective the ne+t time you use it. )al* to your doctor a out anti iotics. 1ind out whether they are needed and what

their enefits and ris*s are in treating acute ronchitis. .f your doctor prescri es anti iotics, ta*e them as directed. (o not stop ta*ing them Iust ecause you feel etter. 5ou need to ta*e the full course of anti iotics. %orticosteroids, which may help relieve difficulty reathing, fre4uent whee3ing, or a persistent cough, may e prescri ed if other medical conditions such as chronic o structive pulmonary disease "%&'(# or asthma are present. &ther medicines may e prescri ed to treat complications, such as pneumonia. )he medicine used depends on the complication.

&ther Treatment

7est, fluids, and home treatment are all that is needed to treat most cases of acute ronchitis in otherwise healthy people. 'eople who have certain chronic respiratory diseases, such as chronic o structive pulmonary disease "%&'(#, may need additional treatment.