Bronchitis is an infection of the bronchi, which are large airways that lead to the lungs. Bronchitis can be caused by either a bacterial or viral infection, although viral infections make up over 90% of bronchitis cases. Since the majority of cases are viral infections, antibiotics will have no effect on symptoms. Some factors increase the risk of bronchitis, such as smoking, exposure to second-hand smoke, exposure to chemical fumes or dust, and acid reflux. Thankfully, bronchitis is not usually serious and clears up on its own in a few weeks. Even if antibiotics aren’t needed, there are some ways you can treat the symptoms of bronchitis.
What is the best way to treat bronchitis?
Most people who have acute bronchitis experience mild to moderate symptoms. Most cases clear up on their own without the need for medical intervention. The best ways to relieve symptoms are:
Drink plenty of fluids: To recover quickly, it is important to stay hydrated. However, you should avoid caffeine and alcohol as these drinks limit hydration and produce adverse effects.
Get plenty of rest: A good night’s sleep is incredibly important in order for your body to heal. Sleep also helps to boost the immune system, so you can better fight the illness.
Take over-the-counter pain relievers: These can help to reduce inflammation, ease pain, and lower your fever. These could include acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil). Never give aspirin to a child. It has been linked to a serious condition called Reye’s syndrome, which can cause swelling in the liver and brain.
Increase the humidity in your home: This can easily be done by using a humidifier or boiling water. Increased humidity loosens mucous and helps relieve a sore throat.
How long does the recovery from bronchitis take?
Recovery from bronchitis can take a few weeks. Symptoms often include:
– Chest congestion or tightness
– Cough that brings up clear, green, or yellow mucus
– Shortness of breath
– Sore throat
– Body aches
The cough can be persistent and last for several weeks or more. This occurs due to the time that it takes the bronchial tubes to heal. A cough that lasts longer than a month may signal another problem, such as asthma or pneumonia.
Can bronchitis go away on its own?
As mentioned earlier, bronchitis produces mild to moderate symptoms in most people and usually clears up on its own in a few weeks with proper hydration and lots of rest. Although bronchitis is usually not a serious life-threatening condition, it can lead to much discomfort. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor right away:
– A cough is severe and lasts more than three weeks
– Mucus contains blood
– Breathing is rapid, or there are chest pains
– Drowsiness and confusion occur
Additionally, if you experience a fever for more than three days in a row, it could indicate a more serious condition, such as pneumonia.
Someone with chronic bronchitis and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) may need steroids and bronchodilators to open their airways and help clear out mucus. Oxygen therapy may also make breathing easier.
Acute or chronic bronchitis cannot always be prevented. However, avoiding smoking and lung irritants and frequently washing hands may lower the risk of developing both conditions.
If you or someone you know is exhibiting symptoms related to bronchitis, come to DOC-AID Urgent Care today! Our team of kind and compassionate healthcare professionals is experienced in treating bronchitis and can help you find relief!
We have convenient locations in Laredo, Tx to serve you. We serve patients locally in Laredo, Hebbronville, Zapata, Carrizo Springs, Cotulla, Eagle Pass, and throughout the state of Texas via our Telehealth option.