Basically, bronchitis is of two types – acute and chronic bronchitis. Although the names of the two are similar, there is a whale of a difference between them because they are caused by different agents. Therefore, there are different types of medicines for bronchitis.
Acute bronchitis is common during the winter and does not last for a long time. A viral or a bacterial infection or both usually follows this condition. This disorder does not require any special treatment. It clears within a couple of weeks; however, the cough may persist for a longer time. There is a danger of acute bronchitis leading to pneumonia.
Elderly people, young children, and babies are the common victims of acute bronchitis. The immune systems of infants and young children are still in the growing phase, and this makes them susceptible to the disease while the immune systems of old people are weakened with age. Smokers and people who already have a lung or heart ailment stand the risk of contracting actue bronchitis. People living in polluted areas also commonly suffer from acute bronchitis.
Medicines for Acute Bronchitis
First and foremost, the medicines for acute bronchitis aim to get rid of the symptoms of the disease.
People diagnosed with acute bronchitis need to drink plenty of water and fruit juices, stop smoking for good, take plenty of rest, relax as much as possible, and use humidifiers in their homes. The doctor prescribes medications such as acetaminophen if the disease is accompanied by mild fever and pain. Sometimes, aspirin is also taken. However, pregnant women and children should not take aspirin because it is suspected to cause heavy bleeding in pregnant women and Reye's syndrome in children.
In case of dry cough, the patient can take an anti-cough medicine. But if it is cough accompanied by phlegm, it is advisable not to take any anti-cough medicine and to allow the body to cleanse itself. If such a cough is suppressed with an anti-cough medicine, the phlegm may accumulate in the lungs and host dangerous microbes. An expectorant is more advisable than an anti-cough medicine because it liquefies the thick mucus in the air passes and makes it easy for the patient to cough it out.
In case of bacterial infection, an antibiotic should be taken as prescribed by the doctor. A person who neglects to take antibiotics is in danger of suffering a relapse. In addition, the bacteria could produce a variant that is immune to medication. Antibiotic medicines include clarithromycin, azithromycin, trimethoprim or sulfamethazole, and so on. Children below the age of eight are given amoxocillin instead of tetracyclin. Tetracyclin is suspected to cause discoloration of new teeth in young children.
Chronic bronchitis is characterized by inflammation of the respiratory tract. A common symptom is a persistent, productive cough that is accommodated by lots of phlegm. Unlike acute bronchitis, chronic bronchitis is a long-term disorder, and its symptoms are visible for three months to two years.
Inhalation of certain irritants may lie at the root of chronic bronchitis. Some examples of irritants are cigarette smoke or air pollution or a mixture of both. The disease progresses slowly, and the most common groups diagnosed with chronic bronchitis complicate the elderly and the middle-aged.
Medicines for Chronic Bronchitis
Medicines for chronic bronchitis are different from those prescribed for acute bronchitis because it is a more complicated condition. Physicians carefully examine patients for other medical conditions before designing a treatment plan to control and manage the disease. Treatment also includes massive changes in lifestyle such as giving up smoking for good and moving to cleaner, non-polluted areas. Regular exercise also helps the patient deal with chronic bronchitis in a more effective manner.
The anti-inflammatory drugs that are commonly prescribed for chronic bronchitis are ipratropium, which reduces the production of mucus and coricetosteroids such as prednisone that can be received either intravenously orally. Bronchodilators such as metaproterenol and albuterol help loosen the bronchial muscles and this, in turn, increases the flow of air in the air passages. Bronchodilators can be either inhaled through a nebulizer, which is a medical device used to transport medication to the respiratory tract, or taken orally.
A person suffering from an advanced stage of chronic bronchitis may require supplemental oxygen. Hospitalization may be required if the patient has developed sever complications.
In addition to the usual medication, the treatment plan can also include herbal medicines. Herbs such as eucalyptus can be inhaled while tea can be brewed from herbs such as mullein or verbascum thapsus, anise seed or Pimpinella anisum, and coltsfoot or Tussilago farfara.
A number of drugs for bronchitis are available. Do not take any of them on your own. Consult your physician, who is the best person to help you design a good treatment plan.