Home Remedies for Bronchitis

Medically Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner, MD on December 03, 2022

When you're coughing nonstop with bronchitis, you might look for anything you can do to make it stop. Besides a cough suppressant, which can have side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, or dry mouth, a few other things can help you feel better.

Avoid Things That Bother Your Lungs

Staying away from substances like smoke, chemical fumes, dust, and air pollution is the best way to both prevent and treat bronchitis. If you smoke and are having trouble quitting, talk with your doctor about what might work for you. If you can’t stay away from the other substances -- if you work around them, for example -- wear a mask and open windows when possible.

Get Plenty of Rest

The infection and cough that come with bronchitis can make you very tired. Listen to your body and get as much rest as you can, especially over the first few days. If a nighttime cough keeps you awake, use an extra pillow to prop up your head and keep mucus from settling in the back of your throat.

Drink Clear Fluids

When you have bronchitis, it’s important to loosen the mucus in your chest so you can cough it up and breathe more easily. The best way to thin mucus is to drink plenty of fluids like water, diluted fruit juices, herbal tea, and clear soups. Aim for eight to 12 glasses a day. Try to stay away from alcohol and caffeine.

Breathe in Steam

This is another way to loosen mucus so it can move out of your body faster. To make a steam bowl,pour hot water into a large, heatproof bowl. ( Be very careful not to get burned and do not use water that is very hot especially around children.) Drape a towel over your head and lean over the bowl, making a tent with the towel to keep in the steam. Breathe in the vapors for up to 10 minutes. You also might take a hot shower or sit in a steamy bathroom.

Use a Humidifier

A cold- or warm-mist humidifier in your bedroom puts moisture in the air while you sleep, which will help clear the mucus. Make sure to clean your humidifier often to clear out bacteria and mold.

Gargle With Salt Water

This can get rid of some of the mucus that coats and irritates your throat. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Spit it out after gargling. You can do this several times a day to make your throat feel better.

Quiet a Cough

Honey has been used as medicine since ancient times. When you eat it on its own or stir it into warm herbal tea, it can help with the irritating cough that often comes with bronchitis and soothe a sore throat, too. But don’t give honey to children younger than 1 year old because it can cause infant botulism, a very serious kind of food poisoning.

Show Sources


American Academy of Family Physicians: “Acute Bronchitis.”

American Lung Association: “Diagnosing and Treating Chronic Bronchitis,” “Managing and Preventing Acute Bronchitis.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “Acute Bronchitis.”

Massachusetts Medical Society: “Colds, Flu, and Bronchitis: Treatment and Care.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Pursed Lip Breathing.”

American Family Physician: “Acute Bronchitis.”

Mayo Clinic: “Honey: An effective cough remedy?”

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