The symptoms of bronchitis include fatigue, coughing, shortness of breath, mucus production, chills, chest discomfort and slight fever, according to staff members from Mayo Clinic. Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which carry air to the lungs.
Experts from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute say acute bronchitis is often caused by a virus. Because antibiotics only kill bacteria, they are not used to treat viral infections. Someone with acute bronchitis may be instructed to use a humidifier to loosen mucus, drink plenty of fluids and take acetaminophen to reduce fever. If these self-care measures do not work, a person with acute bronchitis may be asked to use an inhaler to open the airways and relieve wheezing.
It is possible to develop a chronic form of bronchitis that lasts for several months. According to UCSF Medical Center, antibiotics and steroids may be used to relieve the symptoms of this condition. Because smoking damages the lungs, people with chronic bronchitis may also be asked to stop smoking cigarettes. If prescription medications do not help, surgery is an option. During surgery for chronic bronchitis, a surgeon removes the damaged lung tissue, making it easier for the patient to breathe.