Bronchitis is a chest infection affecting the large airways that carry air into your lungs when you breathe. Bronchitis is usually caused by a virus and often develops after a sore throat (pharyngitis), a cold, or 'flu' (influenza).
During an infection, the lining of your airways becomes irritated and swollen (inflamed) and produce more mucus than usual. Your body tries to get rid of the mucus by coughing.
Bronchitis is common in both adults and children
Medicines and treatments for bronchitis
Most people with acute bronchitis have infections that can be dealt with by their immune system. They will usually only need treatment for the symptoms of bronchitis. Bronchitis is most often caused by a virus, so antibiotics won’t help. Antibiotics do not kill viruses.
There are ways you can relieve the symptoms of bronchitis (e.g. headache, aches, pains and fever), and some over-the-counter medicines that you can take.
See your doctor if your symptoms change or become worse, as pneumonia is a common complication of bronchitis.
There are over-the-counter medicines you can take to help manage the symptoms of bronchitis. These include:
- paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin for relieving pain and fever
- decongestants and saline nasal sprays or drops for relieving a blocked nose.