While many cases of acute bronchitis heal without medication after two weeks, physicians sometimes advise patients to use an inhaler, or take cough medicine or antibiotics, according to Mayo Clinic. Chronic bronchitis can be treated with pulmonary rehabilitation, an exercise program that teaches patients how to breathe more easily. Self-care remedies, such as using a face mask during colder months or using a humidifier, can combat bronchitis and help to relieve symptoms as well.
Traditional treatment for acute bronchitis involves bed rest, increasing intake of fluids, and avoiding fumes or smoke, explains WebMD. Patients with chronic bronchitis may need supplemental oxygen or oral steroids to help reduce inflammation. Patients who have bronchitis but have healthy lungs and no known chronic health issues do not usually need antibiotics. Taking acetaminophen or aspirin can help ease discomfort; however, children younger than 19 are advised against taking aspirin due to an increased risk of contracting Reye's syndrome. People with chronic bronchitis can be vulnerable to infections, and some doctors recommend getting an annual flu shot and a pneumonia vaccination.
When taking over-the-counter medications, bronchitis patients should avoid caffeine, alcohol and dairy products, according to MedicineNet. Doctors often recommend staying indoors because air pollution, tobacco smoke and other environmental irritants can worsen bronchitis symptoms. Parents need to consult a doctor before giving over-the-counter medication to children younger than 6 years old.