Bronchitis: treatment and prevention

Acute bronchitis: therapy

The therapy of acute bronchitis consists in a purely viral infection in the administration of expectorant drugs. On the one hand, so-called secretolytics (eg, ambroxol or chamomile oil, which is inhaled) are available, which cause the production of less viscous mucus. On the other hand, so-called mucolytics (eg N-acetylcysteine) are used, which help to liquefy the already formed viscous mucus. In addition, patients should drink plenty of fluids to help liquefy the mucus.

Since acute bronchitis often occurs as part of a flu, the accompanying symptoms such as fever and body aches are treated accordingly. Antibiotics are only necessary if bronchitis does not improve on its own or threatens bacterial pneumonia. If acute bronchitis is due to inhalation of toxic gases, the patient must be admitted to a clinic for observation, as even after inhalation, life-threatening complications may occur.

Therapy of chronic bronchitis

In the treatment of chronic bronchitis, it is especially important to eliminate the triggers of the disease. That means above all: stop smoking. But also toxic fumes z. B. at work must be avoided if you do not want to further worsen the complaints. This may mean a job change, but this is the only way to prevent further aggravation. If there is an additional bacterial infection, it must be treated depending on the pathogen antibiotic. If breathing difficulties have already occurred, different drugs are used, depending on the stage of the disease:

  • Beta-2-Sympathomimethika are already used in the early stages. They cause an enlargement of the bronchi and thus help to prevent the hyperinflation of the alveoli and thus the development of pulmonary emphysema.
  • The active substance theophylline also causes an enlargement of the bronchi.
  • Cortisone-containing preparations are offered both as inhalation sprays and in tablet form. They are usually used only at an advanced stage. They have an anti-inflammatory effect and prevent the habituation to beta-2-sympathomimetics.

Prevention of bronchitis

Because influenza viruses are common causes of acute bronchitis, flu (influenza) vaccine can prevent bronchitis. The vaccination should be repeated every year as the structure of the viruses can change. In addition, patients with more advanced bronchitis should avoid large numbers of people because there is an increased risk of infection here as well.

There is also a vaccine against pneumococci, which is recommended especially for people over 60 years of age. These bacteria are common causes of pneumonia, which can be a complication of bronchitis, as the inflamed mucosa of the bronchi is more susceptible to bacteria. By early vaccination, the risk of pneumococcal pneumonia as a result of bronchitis can be reduced. In many cases, moderation in sports can significantly improve the well-being of patients and improve performance. Before that, however, one should ask the attending physician how far one can burden oneself.

Shirk the trigger of bronchitis

Since about 90% of cases of chronic bronchitis are caused by many years of smoking, the best precaution is not to start smoking or to stop smoking as soon as possible. If you work with toxic substances or you are exposed to strong air pollution, you should urgently follow the prescribed occupational safety measures and make use of protective masks.

If a patient already suffers from the symptoms of chronic bronchitis, it should be treated urgently, so that no further worsening of the symptoms occurs.

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