According to WebMD, treat most cases of bronchitis by getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of liquids, and avoiding smoke and fumes that further irritate the condition. In some cases, oral steroids are prescribed to reduce inflammation, and supplemental oxygen may be necessary.
Since most cases of bronchitis are caused by a viral infection, antibiotics are typically not an effective treatment, notes the Mayo Clinic. It is also not a good idea to use cough suppressants to treat bronchitis because coughing allows the body to get rid of excess mucus and helps to remove irritants from the lungs. However, there are exceptions to this rule: WebMD suggests using a cough suppressant if the cough persists for two or three weeks or if it is so forceful that it causes pain and discomfort.
A doctor prescribes an antibiotic if he determines that the bronchitis is due to a bacterial infection rather than a virus. If sufferers have mucus that they cannot easily cough up, a doctor sometimes also prescribes an expectorant to facilitate the process. In most cases individuals with bronchitis treat the condition just as they treat the common cold: with rest and fluids. Take aspirin or acetaminophen to ease pain and discomfort, notes WebMD.