For those suffering from bronchitis, a humidifier keeps the air moist and warm to help break up mucus in the lungs and provide relief for a cough, according to Mayo Clinic. Inhaling steam over a sink of hot water or using a vaporizer may also be helpful, states WebMD.
Patients should avoid the use of cough suppressants unless a doctor prescribes them, according to WebMD. Coughing helps to break up and expel excess mucus in the lungs. A doctor may prescribe an expectorant if there is trouble coughing up phlegm. If mucus starts to become thicker, it may be an indication of a bacterial infection.
Most cases of bronchitis get better within a couple of weeks even without medical treatment, reports Mayo Clinic. Patients should take measures to avoid lung irritants, such as paint fumes, household cleaners or other air pollutants, when suffering from bronchitis. For smokers, it is important to quit smoking.
Breathing exercise programs, such as pulmonary rehabilitation, are often beneficial to help patients learn how to manage breathing and exercise, according to Mayo Clinic. In those who also suffer from asthma or allergies, an inhaler can help open narrowed lung passages and reduce inflammation. Antibiotics are usually not as effective for bronchitis but may be prescribed for an associated infection.