Do You Need to Take Antibiotics to Treat Bronchitis? 

Do You Need to Take Antibiotics to Treat Bronchitis? 

Acute Bronchitis, also called the chest cold, happens when airways in the lungs become swollen and begin producing mucus. The bronchi are the airways responsible for carrying air in and out of the lungs. When a virus irritates the bronchi, they produce mucus to flush out the germs, which causes coughing. A persistent cough is the main symptom of bronchitis but it often comes with chest soreness, fatigue, fever, and congestion. 

Bronchitis can be either viral or bacterial. Most cases are viral and cannot be treated with antibiotics. If you can’t cure it, how do you treat bronchitis? Recovery requires taking time to rest and care for yourself, as symptoms can last days or weeks. With viral cases, bronchitis treatment is more about treating the symptoms so you can rest and let your body heal. 

Over-the-Counter Medication

While medication will not cure bronchitis, it can give you temporary relief from the symptoms. Taking a cough expectorant helps to loosen mucus so you can cough it out and clear the airway. A cough suppressant will help ease your cough so you can get the healing rest your body needs. 

Clear Liquids

Getting lots of clear liquids is important beyond just staying hydrated. While hydration is great for helping your body get healthy, the liquids help loosen mucus for your lungs to expel. Water, tea, and brothy soups are ideal for this. Drinks like coffee and alcohol do not have the same effect, so save those for when you are better.


Treating bronchitis at home usually involves a lot of rest, but one proactive thing you can do is utilize steam. Breathing in steam also helps loosen mucus, clearing your airways and making it easier to breathe. You can use a sauna, sit in a hot shower, or boil a pan of water on the stove. Just take some time to breathe deeply and let the steam do its work. 


Honey has been the go-to remedy for sore throats and coughs for ages. Eating honey or drinking it in your tea helps to soothe the coughing and let you rest. Raw honey with cinnamon in warm water also works as a homeopathic expectorant. It should be noted that children under the age of one should not consume honey. 


Cold, dry air is an irritant that can trigger coughing fits for those with bronchitis. A humidifier adds moisture to the air, soothing your airways and allowing you to breathe. To prevent mold, only use the humidifier for about half the day. Using a cool-mist humidifier will mitigate the risk of burns during use. 


When you are sick, rest is best. Your body needs to conserve energy to fight off the virus and it can’t do that if you won’t rest. If you can, take time off of work or school to stay home. Sleep as much as you can between hydrating and feeding your body. Limit talking to avoid irritating airways. 

Saline Spray

When you are sick, more than just your lungs are affected. Your sinuses clog, causing pressure pain and adding to the misery. A saline spray helps to loosen mucus in your sinuses and hydrate your tissue membranes. While this may not stop the coughing, it will help ease some of your discomforts while you recover. 

Learn More

If you have health questions, reach out to our medical experts at BASS Urgent Care. Our professionals take caring for our patients seriously. We look forward to helping you and your family stay healthy. For more information give us a call at (925) 318-9822 today.