Bronchitis is an inflammation and spasm of the air passages of the lung. Common symptoms of this condition include:
If you suspect you’ve contracted this illness, head to the nearest Urgency Room to receive care from a board-certified emergency physician. We’ve compiled some helpful information on what to do after your doctor sends you home.
Bronchitis can last several weeks, and be quite uncomfortable, so you might not feel like yourself for a while. After your doctor clears you to go home, you can take some steps to help yourself feel more comfortable. As with any illness, drinking fluids and getting plenty of sleep can help your body heal. Here are a few more tips.
Fill any prescriptions your doctor wrote for you and begin taking them right away as directed. The vast majority of cases of bronchitis are caused by a virus. The virus causes inflammation in the lungs, causing cough and wheezing. If inflammation is severe, your doctor may prescribe an inhaler or steroid. Antibiotics don’t treat viruses and do not prevent lung complications from bronchitis. If your doctor decided your bronchitis was caused by a bacterial infection, then you may need an antibiotic. Finish the entire course of antibiotics, even if you’re feeling better.
You may have been given a prescription for an inhaler, which can help loosen tight air passages. Use this as needed, but not more often than directed. Note that inhalers work much more effectively when used with a spacer, which can be purchased at the UR or at a pharmacy.
Your healthcare provider may have prescribed you a steroid to reduce inflammation. Used long-term, these steroids can have serious side effects; but they are typically not a problem when used over short periods. If you’re taking a steroid, you may notice restlessness or an increased appetite. Patients with diabetes may noticed elevated blood sugars while taking a steroid Medication.
Non-prescription cough or cold medications may help alleviate your symptoms, but most cough medicines will not make the cough go away completely.
If you have a fever, acetaminophen or ibuprofen can bring it down and may help you feel more comfortable. Be sure to read and follow the directions on the package, and ask your doctor if you have any questions.
Don’t smoke while you’re ill, as this can make your symptoms worse. If you’re a smoker, this could be a good time to quit! Consider using nicotine lozenges, gum, or patches to reduce your cravings.
If your Urgency Room healthcare provider told you to follow up at your clinic, be sure to call right away and schedule an appointment.
Occasionally, bronchitis can develop into more serious illnesses, including pneumonia. Please come see us right away if you experience the following:
Additionally, watch out for any new symptoms, such as:
Please come see us again if you have any concerns about your health. We hope you feel better soon!
These videos are intended to provide helpful health information to the general public. They are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat health problems, and you should not use these videos in place of a call or visit to a medical professional. Talk with your physician about the proper treatment for your particular condition, and always follow your physician's advice. If you think you need an ambulance or are experiencing a medical emergency, please dial 911 immediately.