Lung Disease and Respiratory System

Do I need antibiotics for bronchitis?

A Answers (2)

  • Most people do not need antibiotics to treat bronchitis. Bronchitis is usually caused by a virus. Antibiotics are used to treat bacteria, not viruses.

    In rare cases, antibiotics may help if you have bronchitis and significant underlying lung disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Antibiotics will rarely be needed since acute bronchitis and bronchiolitis are almost always caused by a virus and chronic bronchitis requires other therapies. However, treatment may be prescribed to relieve symptoms.

    When bronchitis is caused by a virus or irritation in the air (like cigarette smoke), antibiotic treatment will not help it get better. Since acute bronchitis almost always gets better on its own, it is better to wait and take antibiotics only when they are needed. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed can be harmful.

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This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
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