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Acute Bronchitis - Topic Overview

How is it treated? continued...

The following may help you feel better:

  • Don't smoke.
  • Suck on cough drops or hard candies to soothe a dry or sore throat. Cough drops won't stop your cough, but they may make your throat feel better.
  • Breathe moist air from a humidifier, a hot shower, or a sink filled with hot water. The heat and moisture can help keep mucus in your airways moist so you can cough it out easily.
  • Use nonprescription medicine, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin, to relieve fever and body aches. Don't give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20.
  • Rest more than usual.
  • Drink plenty of fluids so that you do not become dehydrated.
  • Use an over-the-counter cough medicine if your doctor recommends it. (Cough medicines may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems.) Cough suppressants may help you to stop coughing. Expectorants can help you bring up mucus when you cough.

If you have signs of bronchitis and have heart or lung disease (such as heart failure, asthma, or COPD) or another serious health problem, talk to your doctor right away. You may need treatment with antibiotics or medicines to help with your breathing. Early treatment may prevent complications, such as pneumonia or repeated episodes of acute bronchitis caused by bacteria.

What can you do to avoid getting bronchitis?

There are several things you can do to help prevent bronchitis.

  • Avoid cigarette smoke. If you smoke, stop. People who smoke or are around others who smoke have acute bronchitis more often.
  • Wash your hands often during the cold and flu season.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick with a cold or the flu, especially if you have other health problems.
  • Get a flu vaccine every year, and talk to your doctor about whether you should get a pneumococcal vaccine.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 10, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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