Bronchitis Treatment Options: Medications and Therapies to Help You Breathe Easier

on May 24th, 2023
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in Health Information and Tips

Bronchitis is an infection of the lungs (bronchi) that makes them irritated or inflamed. People with bronchitis produce thickened mucus when they cough, sometimes discolored. You can either develop acute or chronic bronchitis.

Acute bronchitis is common in people who develop colds and other respiratory infections. On the other hand, chronic bronchitis is a severe condition with constant inflammation and irritation in the lining of bronchial tubes. About 12.5 million adults are living with chronic bronchitis or another type of chronic pulmonary condition in recent years. 

Fortunately, bronchitis treatment is available through medication and therapy to help you breathe easier. If you’re looking for a provider to diagnose and treat your bronchitis, consider visiting a reputable urgent care center.


Breathing a Sigh of Relief: Understanding Bronchitis Treatment and Management Options                                 

Most acute bronchitis cases go away in weeks without needing treatment. Even so, you need to see a doctor if you have chronic bronchitis occasioned by a productive cough that lasts at least three months.

Chronic bronchitis warrants the doctor’s attention if your cough: 

  • Produces blood
  • Has discolored mucus
  • It prevents you from sleeping
  • A fever above 38°C accompanies it

Here’s how a doctor can diagnose chronic bronchitis.

Identifying bronchitis in the first few days of the illness is challenging because signs of bronchitis are not different from those of a common cold. The doctor may therefore need a stethoscope to listen carefully to your lungs as you breathe.

Alternatively, they may use the following tests to diagnose your condition;

  • Chest X-ray: You may need a chest x-ray to determine or rule out pneumonia and other respiratory infections behind your cough. A doctor will order a chest X-ray if you’re a past or current smoker.
  • Pulmonary Test: The physician will request you to blow into a spirometer to assess how much air your lungs can hold and how quickly it gets out of the lungs. 
  • Sputum Test: Sputum that you cough from the lungs can be tested for any infection that can be cured using antibiotics. Sputum is also commonly tested for signs of allergies.

Once a doctor identifies your illness, they can recommend any of the following treatment options;

  • Therapy: Patients with chronic bronchitis can benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation, a breathing exercise program that teaches you to breathe with ease.
  • Medications; If a bacterial infection is the cause of your bacterial infection, the doctor may prescribe you antibiotics.  You may also need cough suppressants if you have trouble coughing during bedtime. The physician may also recommend an inhaler to reduce inflammation and widen narrow passages.

From Inhalers to Antibiotics: Medications for Bronchitis Relief and Healing

Inhalations For Bronchitis

An inhaler is a form of medication delivered to the lungs through the mouth. A physician will prescribe different inhalers depending on your condition’s severity.

Here are the different types of inhalers available;

  • Beta-2 Agonists: Most common inhalers fall under the short-acting beta-2 agonists classification. These inhalers contain medications such as albuterol or salbutamol. A physician can recommend beta-2-agonists to treat asthma or severe coughing linked with acute bronchitis.Beta-2-agonists work by relaxing airway passages in the lungs, making breathing easier.
  • Nebulizer Treatment: It is a different form of an inhaler with a more extended mouthpiece and air compressor that converts medication into a fine mist. A physician may prescribe a nebulizer to a child with difficulty using an inhaler appropriately. It treats acute bronchitis in children and chronic bronchitis in adults.
  • Inhaled Corticosteroids: The role of inhaled corticosteroids is to minimize airway inflammation. Although inhaled corticosteroids do not immediately relieve wheezing attacks, they effectively reduce tight airways, excess mucus, and airway swelling. Some commonly inhaled corticosteroids doctors prescribe include fluticasone, budesonide, and beclomethasone.

Unfortunately, inhalers and nebulizer treatments have side effects depending on the medication type. For instance, beta-2-agonists can cause shakiness, nervousness, and tremors.

Medication For Bronchitis

Your healthcare provider will not prescribe medication to treat bronchitis. However, they will prescribe medication to calm the symptoms or treat the underlying cause.

Some of the common medications for treating bronchitis include;

  • Cough Suppressants: You may need over-the-counter cough suppressants such as Pediacare or Benzonatate to calm a nagging cough.
  • Antiviral Medications: A physician may prescribe an antiviral medication such as Tamiflu or Relenza if the cause of bronchitis is the flu.
  • Bronchodilators: A physician may prescribe bronchodilator drugs—to open your airways— if you have trouble breathing.
  • Antibiotics: A physician will only prescribe antibiotics— if they suspect you have a bacterial infection.
  • Anti-inflammatory Medications; Your physician may prescribe corticosteroids or other suitable medications to manage inflammation.

Beyond Medication: Therapeutic Approaches to Help Manage Bronchitis Symptoms

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Patients diagnosed with chronic lung conditions such as chronic bronchitis can attend a pulmonary rehabilitation program which can be a lifesaver. Pulmonary rehabilitation helps patients manage symptoms, complications, oxygen, and medication intake.

Chronic bronchitis patients who undergo pulmonary rehabilitation enjoy reduced hospitalization, better breathing, and improved quality of life. Pulmonary rehabilitation programs vary in length and format and include the following;

  • Breathing exercises
  • Emotional Health Support
  • Education about your condition
  • Nutrition Counseling
  • Exercise classes and instructions

Here’s how each program can improve your recovery from bronchitis symptoms;


Patients stand a better chance of recovery if they’re well-informed about their chronic lung condition. Therefore, physicians will discuss their anatomy, physiology, breathing techniques, and meditation with patients.

They also learn valuable coping lessons, including the best medication time.

Nutrition Counseling

Maintaining a healthy weight is a crucial element of overcoming chronic bronchitis. Patients might require nutrition support and counseling toward a healthy lifestyle. Generally, excessive body weight and shortness of breath while a low body may interfere with your ability to fight infections.

On the other hand, shortness of breath associated with chronic bronchitis patients makes it hard to eat. The role of nutrition counseling is to educate patients on ways to make nutritious meals without feeling stressed.

Emotional Support

Chronic bronchitis patients experience mental health symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and emotional problems. Pulmonary rehabilitation programs have a counseling aspect of improving patients’ mental resilience. 

Pulmonary Rehab Activities You Can Do At Home

Watch Out When Short of Breath

Shortness of breath doesn’t have to concern you if you still have control over your breathing. However, consider taking a break if it persists. If any of the following occurs, stop exercising, and call for emergency help.

  • Feeling fatigued
  • A sharp increase in shortness of breath
  • Nausea or dizziness
  • Abnormal aches on your back, jaw, neck, shoulders, or joints
  • Burning tightness or heaviness in your chest
  • Chest discomfort or pain

Stretching Exercises

Chronic bronchitis patients have breathing problems explaining their preference to avoid doing exercises. However, the correct amount and type of exercise have unlimited benefits. For instance, stretching boosts your energy levels, improves heart and muscle strength, and helps you breathe efficiently.

In pulmonary rehab guided exercises, patients are regularly monitored and taught how to exercise care when paying attention to breathing and oxygen levels. 

Belly Breathing

Breathing through your belly(diaphragm) helps your lungs inhale more air with less effort. Studies suggest it calms your stress response and enables you to overcome anxiety, which bronchitis patients experience.

Try the following exercises 2-4 times a day to practice belly breathing;

  • Lie comfortably on your back or sit straight on a chair
  • Place one hand on your belly and the other on the chest
  • Inhale air slowly through your nose—let your stomach push out while your chest stays flat
  • Breath in the count of 2 and exhale at the count of 4— Your nervous system will calm down and help you take control over your breathing

Once you get comfortable with the exercise, try belly breathing while doing yoga, meditating, walking upstairs, or cleaning dishes.

A Holistic Approach to Bronchitis Treatment: Combining Medications and Therapies for Optimal Respiratory Health

A combination of medication and therapy offers a comprehensive treatment approach with several benefits. For instance, medicine such as bronchodilators and corticosteroids calms bronchitis symptoms, reducing airway inflammation and improving lung function.

On the other hand, therapy techniques such as pulmonary rehabilitation equip patients with knowledge of their condition, offer nutrition support, and guide them to lifestyle changes that give them long-term benefits of beating the disease.

The integrated approach addresses physiological and physiological aspects such as anxiety or depression associated with chronic bronchitis. It also equips patients with better symptom management, reduces life-threatening flare-ups, and empowers patients to actively participate in their treatment leading to long-term outcomes for their health.

Don’t Let Bronchitis Hold You Back; Explore Newport Urgent Care Treatment Options

Patients with acute or chronic bronchitis develop uncomfortable symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest discomfort. Although a single bout of bronchitis isn’t a cause of concern, it can lead to pneumonia.

It’s, therefore, in the best interest of your health to seek quality and prompt care from an urgent care center.

Newport Urgent Care Center is a well-equipped health facility with board-certified physicians ready to help you overcome bronchitis.

Contact us online or call us at 949.832.6347 to book an appointment.