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How do inhalers treat bronchitis?

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Quick Answer

An inhaler sprays medicines directly onto the bronchial tree for the purpose of clearing mucus out of the way and opening up the bronchial tubes inside the chest, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation. While inhalers are generally used for asthma treatment, they also work for some bronchitis patients.

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Full Answer

In most cases, acute bronchitis resolves on its own, explains the AAFP Foundation. While suffering from the condition, patients should hydrate with fruit juices and water and keep the moisture elevated in the area with a humidifier. Getting enough rest also reduces stress on the lungs. Pain and inflammation treatment consists of over-the-counter medicines such as naproxen, aspirin and ibuprofen. In cases of fever, acetaminophen reduces the temperature. Bronchitis patients who smoke should quit in order to help speed up and maintain overall healing.

Bronchitis patients who have a dry cough can take over-the-counter cough medicines, notes the AAFP Foundation. If the cough produces mucus, though, it is best to allow it to keep happening, because this kind of cough pulls mucus from the bronchial tree more quickly. Most bronchitis cases come from viruses, rendering antibiotics useless. Even when the mucus that comes up is thick or colored, antibiotics generally do not speed up the healing process. The only time when antibiotics help is when the bronchitis is bacterial.

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