Like most of the viral diseases of the respiratory tract, acute bronchitis is commonly seen during the flu season.
Symptoms can include coughing with or without mucus production, soreness in the chest, fatigue, mild headache, mild body aches, watery eyes, and sore throat.
- Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a virus and often occurs after an upper respiratory infection.
- Bacteria can sometimes cause acute bronchitis, but even in these cases antibiotics are not recommended and will not help patients get better.
Acute bronchitis usually gets better on its own without antibiotics. As such, treatment focuses on relieving symptoms. At home, encourage patients to:
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Use a clean humidifier or cool mist vaporiser.
- Use saline nasal spray or drops to relieve a stuffy nose.
- For young children, use a rubber suction bulb to clear mucus.
- Breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water or shower.
- Suck on lozenges. Do not give lozenges to children younger than four years of age.
- Use honey to relieve cough for adults and children at least one year of age or older.
Pharmacological treatment includes OTC cough and cold medicines, and pain relievers.
Explain to patients they can help prevent acute bronchitis by doing their best to stay healthy and keep others healthy by:
- Washing hands.
- Getting recommended vaccines, such as the flu vaccine.
- Don’t smoke and avoid second-hand smoke.
- Cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
*SOURCE: Centre for Disease Control