Bronchitis Specialist Questions and Answers
If you have bronchitis, you may need treatment. Read our Q and A page below to discover the benefits of meeting with a bronchitis specialist. For more information, call us or schedule an appointment online. We serve patients from El Cajon CA, Wells Park CA, Rancho San Diego CA, Hillsdale CA, Alpine CA, Santee CA, and Jamul CA.
Bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchi, which are the airways that carry air to and from the lungs. Bronchitis often produces a productive cough, meaning there is a lot of phlegm and mucous production. Bronchitis can be either acute or chronic. It is estimated that over 9 million people in the United States are affected by chronic bronchitis.
What is the best medicine for bronchitis?
Adequate rest and fluid intake are often all that is needed to help a patient recover, as acute bronchitis often clears up on its own. In more severe cases, medicine may be needed to effectively manage symptoms, and includes:
Cough suppressants (antitussives): Cough suppressants are not commonly used to treat acute bronchitis when the patient is still producing mucus when coughing because these medications simply suppress the urge to cough, instead of treating the inflamed airways. Cough suppressants can be used for up to two weeks to treat the symptoms should a cough persist and become dry. Common cough suppressants include codeine (available with a prescription) and dextromethorphan (available over the counter).
Expectorants: By helping to loosen up mucus from the airways making it easier to cough up and clear, these medicines make breathing easier. Available over the counter, one of the most common expectorants is guaifenesin.
Pain relievers: Aside from persistent cough, other symptoms of acute bronchitis can include headaches, a mild fever, and body aches. Taking pain relievers can help relieve these symptoms, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin.
Antibiotics: Antibiotics are often an ineffective treatment option because bronchitis is primarily viral in nature. In rare instances, a bacterial infection can cause bronchitis which may be treatable with antibiotics. As some can have serious side effects, antibiotic use should be thoroughly discussed with your medical provider. Amoxicillin, azithromycin, doxycycline, and erythromycin and common antibiotics used to treat bronchitis.
When should you go to the doctor for bronchitis?
- While acute bronchitis usually isn’t serious and goes away on its own, you should consult your healthcare professional if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Symptoms that do not improve or worsen
- Frequent occurrences of acute bronchitis
- A wheezing cough or productive cough that that lasts longer than three to four weeks
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing that expels blood or bloody mucus
How long does bronchitis last for?
The recovery period for someone with bronchitis depends on what type of bronchitis they have, either acute or chronic. Although some symptoms, such as coughing, can last longer, acute bronchitis usually lasts for between 3–10 days.
Chronic bronchitis lasts longer than acute bronchitis. Symptoms of chronic bronchitis last for at least 3 months out of the last twelve. In many cases of chronic bronchitis, symptoms last even longer. This is especially apparent in smokers.
Typically, acute bronchitis occurs suddenly due to a viral infection as viruses make up over 90% of bronchitis cases. An infection may start in the upper airway and travel to the bronchial tubes, such as a cold, congestion or cough. Although the condition is temporary, symptoms may last 1–2 weeks.
Chronic indicates a long-term condition. Although the severity of symptoms often vary over time, the disease does not go away. Chronic bronchitis is a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and can have long-term impacts on a person’s ability to breathe. If a person coughs and produces mucus for at least 3 months out of the year for 2 years in a row, doctors consider bronchitis as chronic.
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