Treatment

Most cases of acute bronchitis get better without treatment, usually within a couple of weeks.

Medications

Because most cases of bronchitis are caused by viral infections, antibiotics aren't effective. However, if your doctor suspects that you have a bacterial infection, he or she may prescribe an antibiotic.

In some circumstances, your doctor may recommend other medications, including:

  • Cough medicine. If your cough keeps you from sleeping, you might try cough suppressants at bedtime.
  • Other medications. If you have allergies, asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), your doctor may recommend an inhaler and other medications to reduce inflammation and open narrowed passages in your lungs.

Therapies

If you have chronic bronchitis, you may benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation — a breathing exercise program in which a respiratory therapist teaches you how to breathe more easily and increase your ability to exercise.