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HealthInfo Canterbury

How is acute bronchitis treated?

The main treatments for acute bronchitis are rest, and paracetamol or ibuprofen to help with fever, aches and pains. These will make you more comfortable while you get better.

If your bronchitis is caused by a virus (viral bronchitis), and you have healthy lungs, you do not need antibiotics. Antibiotics only work with bacteria, not with viruses.

Even if your bronchitis is caused by bacteria, antibiotics will only speed up your recovery by about half a day. And they might cause side effects such as a tummy upset or thrush, which could make you feel worse.

If you have a lung disease such as COPD you should follow your self-management plan. If you are not sure what to do, you should contact your GP as you might need different treatment.

What can I do to recover?

Resting and taking paracetamol or ibuprofen to help with fever, aches and pains are the most important things to help you recover.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by community respiratory physician, Canterbury DHB. Updated April 2017.

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Page reference: 160125

Review key: HIABP-160111