Acute Bronchitis

Bronchitis is infection and inflammation of bronchi- tubes that carry oxygen in the lungs. Usually bronchitis occurs after a person gets cold or flu and is usually viral infection initially. Antibiotics may not act during this phase. If it gets secondarily infected with bacteria, antibiotics would be required. We will discuss regarding acute bronchitis here. Chronic bronchitis is something that smoker may get.

  • A nagging cough lasting few days to weeks.
  • Coughing up mucus usually clear, sometimes yellow – green when associated with bacterial infection.
  • Fever, headache, generalised weakness may be present in early few days.
  • Breathlessness, sometimes associated with wheezing
If you have cough more than 14 days associated with
  • Fever > 100-degree F
  • Chest pain on coughing
  • A barking cough sometimes associated with blood in sputum
  • A cough and weight loss that you cannot explain

Usually bronchitis does not require any specific tests, however if your symptoms are not improving, doctor may advice you following tests to exclude other differential diagnosis

Chest X-ray
Sputum test for TB and Culture for bacteria
Serum Ig E
CT scan of chest
Bronchitis almost always goes away on its own, although it can take a few weeks.
Different treatments you can try include:
  • Take rest and plenty of oral liquids
  • Take hot tea / soups
  • Lozenges for cough
  • Steam inhalation
  • Taking a pain-relieving medicine if headache, muscle aches, or joint pain
  • Avoid Smoking

You may sometimes need nebulisation, course of antibiotics and oral steroids if there is infection and it’s taking too long to improve.
Hand hygiene with soap and water Or Hand gel with alcohol in it to clean your hands.
Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or tissue paper while coughing or sneezing.