Medications, pulmonary rehabilitation and home treatments such as using a humidifier all help bronchitis patients become more comfortable, but most acute cases improve within a couple of weeks without any treatment. The cause is usually a viral infection that the body has to eliminate, notes Mayo Clinic.
Bronchitis patients often experience increased discomfort when such irritants as cigarette smoke, cleansers with fumes, paint and air pollution are present. A mask helps to filter out those irritants when they are unavoidable, and a cold-air mask is helpful when it is necessary to go outside on a cold day. Cold air worsens cough and leads to shortness of breath in many bronchitis sufferers, as stated by Mayo Clinic.
Using a humidifier sends damp, warm air into the lungs, loosening mucus and easing cough. It is important to keep the humidifier clean as per the manufacturer's instructions to keep fungus and bacteria from thriving in the water, states Mayo Clinic.
In some cases, bronchitis also leads to a bacterial infection, and in that case, the doctor may prescribe an antibiotic. While it is not wise to suppress cough during bronchitis, taking cough medicine at night makes it easier to sleep. People with COPD, asthma or allergies may require an inhaler or other kinds of medication to cut swelling and open passages that have narrowed. People who have chronic bronchitis can benefit from an exercise program that teaches sufferers how to breathe with less difficulty, according to Mayo Clinic.