Many patients who suffer from respiratory conditions are diagnosed with bronchitis. Bronchitis is a very common respiratory illness and it can occur in anyone, regardless of age. However, bronchitis has a higher incidence in smokers, people with respiratory insufficiency and people with weak immune system. The problem with bronchitis is that it generates symptoms that have an unspecific character. The symptoms of bronchitis are also characteristic to other respiratory illnesses and in many cases they can be misleading in establishing the appropriate diagnose.
Even if the illness is correctly diagnosed, prescribing the best bronchitis treatment is a challenging task for doctors. Antibiotics are often part of bronchitis treatments. However, if bronchitis is caused by viruses, it is considered that bronchitis treatments with antibiotics are ineffective in overcoming the illness. In some viral forms of acute bronchitis, medical treatment is not required at all, as the illness clears on itself in a few weeks. Even if the illness is caused by bacteria, bronchitis treatments with antibiotics can cause a lot of harm to the organism if they are administered continuously.
Although they are not very safe, long-term bronchitis treatments with antibiotics are prescribed for overcoming chronic forms of the illness. The problem with bronchitis treatments that involve the use of antibiotics is that they can weaken the organism in time, making it more vulnerable to other infections. Despite their efficiency in fighting malign bacteria, bronchitis treatments with antibiotics also destroy internal benign bacteria that are part of the immune system.
Bronchitis treatments for chronic forms of the illness often include bronchodilators such as albuterol and ipratropium. These are inhaled medicines that eliminate the excess mucus responsible for obstruction of the respiratory tract and shortness of breathing. Bronchitis treatments can also include steroids for strengthening the body's defenses against bacteria and viruses.
Patients that are following bronchitis treatments must avoid exposure to irritants and pollutants (smoke, dust, chemicals, astringent substances, vapors of alcohol or vapors of gasoline). Also, self-medication should be avoided, as inappropriate medicines can cause an aggravation of the illness. Avoid taking antibiotics without the doctor's permission and remember not to give aspirin to small children. For adults, aspirin or acetaminophen can temporarily relieve fever and other symptoms, but it is very important to see a doctor if the symptoms aggravate.
If you are suffering from viral forms of acute bronchitis, it is advised to rest properly, drink plenty of fluids (especially if you have fever) and use a vaporizer or humidifier in your bedroom (dry air can cause throat soreness and difficulty breathing). Avoid using cough suppressants! They prevent the elimination of mucus and can cause serious complications. You can help in decongesting the airways clogged with mucus by taking a hot shower or bath.
If the symptoms of bronchitis persist for more than 2 days, it is strongly recommended to see a doctor. He will perform a physical examination or laboratory tests in order to reveal the nature of the illness. The doctor will only prescribe a specific bronchitis treatment if the illness is serious and caused by infection with bacteria.