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What is the best antibiotic for acute bronchitis?

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Quick Answer

Because acute bronchitis is usually caused by a virus, it is not commonly treated with antibiotics, according to MedlinePlus. Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. Antibiotics will not normally be prescribed unless the doctor suspects a bacterial infection as the cause of the bronchitis.

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Full Answer

To test for a bacterial infection during an onset of acute bronchitis, the doctor examines the mucus for signs of bacteria, states the American Lung Association.

If antibiotics are prescribed to treat acute bronchitis, either amoxicillin, clarithromycin, doxycycline or a combination of trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole are prescribed, claims WebMD. The administration of antibiotics during the illness also depends on other factors, such as age, previous medical history and the risk of complications caused by acute bronchitis.

Normal treatment of acute bronchitis usually includes rest, fluids, pain relievers such as aspirin and, in some cases, acetaminophen to reduce fever, states MedlinePlus. Other treatments include cough medicines and humidifiers to break up mucus and clear airways. If wheezing is present with the cough, doctors may prescribe a medicated inhaler as well, states the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Although most cases of acute bronchitis improve in several days, coughing can last for several weeks even after the main illness is gone, claims MedlinePlus.

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