Don’t take antibiotics for acute bronchitis

GEHA | October 18, 2019

health and wellness
Antibiotics are powerful medicines that treat bacterial infections. Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection. Antibiotics will not treat a virus.

Have you had a cold that turned into a nagging cough? Was your chest sore and did you feel tired? You may have had acute bronchitis, also called a chest cold. Acute means the condition comes on quickly and lasts a short time.

Acute bronchitis occurs when your lungs’ airways the swell and produce mucus. That’s what makes you cough. It lasts less than three weeks and is the most common type of bronchitis.

Treatment

Antibiotics are powerful medicines that treat bacterial infections. Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection. Antibiotics will not treat a virus. Instead, your doctor will likely recommend the following treatments in place of an antibiotic:

  • Plenty of rest
  • Lots of fluids
  • Cough suppressant
  • Pain reliever
  • Humidifier or cool mist vaporizer
  • Saline nasal spray or drops

Your cough may last for a few weeks. It should become milder and drier as the days go by. You may also feel tired for a while longer. If your cough doesn’t improve and you continue to feel sick, see your doctor again to make sure it isn’t a bacterial infection.

If you have allergies, asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), you may need an inhaler and other treatments. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any medicines you are already taking to make sure the drugs will not interact with each other.           


Sources:

“Chest Cold (Acute Bronchitis).” www.cdc.gov, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 August 2019.

“Bronchitis Diagnosis and Treatment: What to Know.” www.webmd.com, Web MD LLC, 23 December 2018.