What is bronchitis?
Bronchitis is a condition where there is inflammation of the bronchi, the air passages within the lungs. The inflammation that causes bronchitis comes mostly from viruses, but sometimes can be caused by bacteria or allergens.
Most cases of acute bronchitis are caused by viruses, so there is no one specific treatment for it. The mainstay of treatment for acute bronchitis is to relieve your symptoms like chronic cough, and make you feel better.
What medications are used to treat bronchitis?
Medication treatments for acute bronchitis include:
- Cough suppressants and expectorants
- Bronchodilators (inhalers)
- Anti-allergy medications (antihistamines)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs)
- Sometimes corticosteroids
Antibiotics are rarely needed and are not usually helpful for uncomplicated cases of acute bronchitis. However, if you have other medical risk factors, are a smoker, or have had symptoms of acute bronchitis for longer than three weeks, antibiotics may be prescribed.
Are there home remedies available for treating bronchitis?
Some home remedies that may provide relief of acute bronchitis symptoms include:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Use a humidifier to keep airways moist
- Stop smoking
- Use cough drops
- Get plenty of rest
- Drink tea with honey, lemon, or ginger
Medically reviewed by Wayne Blocker, MD; Board Certified Obstetrics and Gynecology
UpToDate. Patient information: Acute bronchitis in adults (Beyond the Basics).