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Why Antibiotics Aren't the Go-To Solution for Bronchitis

Why Antibiotics Aren't the Go-To Solution for Bronchitis

Your bronchial tubes carry air back and forth from your lungs. When they’re inflamed, you have a condition called bronchitis. That means coughing and possibly a more difficult time breathing.

A round of antibiotics usually isn’t the best way to resolve the inflammation. Fortunately, plenty of other treatment options can help with bronchitis and its symptoms. 

Here at our SmartClinic Urgent Care clinics in West Covina and Santa Clarita, California, our team of bronchitis specialists can help you find the best option for you. That means identifying the type of bronchitis affecting you and its underlying cause.

Chronic vs. acute bronchitis

Bronchitis comes in two main forms, but both are marked by what doctors call a “productive cough.” That means that when you cough, you cough up a thickened mucus.

When you first develop bronchitis, you have the form called acute bronchitis. If the inflammation in your bronchial tubes lasts more than three months, though, you’re diagnosed with the second form of bronchitis: chronic bronchitis. You’re significantly more likely to develop chronic bronchitis if you smoke cigarettes. 

Assuming you’re not a smoker, you most likely have acute bronchitis caused by an infection. That doesn’t necessarily mean our SmartClinic Urgent Care team will prescribe antibiotics, though. 

Viral vs. bacterial infections

Because people know that most cases of acute bronchitis stem from an infection, they often ask us for antibiotics. We want to clear something up here: Not all infections are bacterial. You can also get a viral infection, and antibiotics don’t work for these types of infections.

Bronchitis serves as a great example. The same viruses that cause the cold and flu cause a lot of bronchitis cases. In fact, we recommend getting your flu shot as a way to reduce your risk of developing bronchitis.

Because most acute bronchitis infections are viral, we don’t prescribe antibiotics to treat them. Instead, we develop a care plan to help you find relief and reduce the inflammation. We might recommend that you pair aspirin or acetaminophen or an inhaled medication with rest and lots of fluids. 

If you have chronic bronchitis, your treatment might look similar, with the addition of healthy lifestyle changes and wearing a mask when you’re exposed to pollutants and irritants. 

Ultimately, we can help. Whether you have acute bronchitis from a viral infection or another reason for inflammation in your bronchial tubes, our team has the detailed diagnostic tools to find out what’s going on. From there, we tailor a treatment plan to you.

To get relief from your productive cough, contact us to make an appointment or walk into the SmartClinic Urgent Care clinic nearest you.

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