We live in a time wherein when you turn on the news, you hear that someone died as a result of the complications relating to the flu. Can the flu really kill people or do they just succumb to it because of a preexisting medical condition, such as bronchitis or asthma?

These situations give a lot of food for thought and probably make you wonder what is the best way to treat bronchitis. You might also see that some people use inhalers, similar to what asthma patients use, but what does an inhaler do for bronchitis, and does it work for the disease?

Understanding the disease and how doctors commonly manage it will give you an idea why other doctors prescribe inhalers. As such, let us help you out in that aspect.

What is Bronchitis?

The simplest way to explain bronchitis is to describe it as an inflammation of the airway. Your airway is comprised of tubes, called bronchi, that connect the mouth, nose, and lungs. When the bronchial tube is inflamed, it not only causes an increase in the amount of mucus in the tube, but the tube may be swollen as well. The combination of your swollen bronchial tubes and the excess mucus will cause breathing difficulties, as the pipes are constricted and essentially already filled.

As similar to most diseases, bronchitis can be either chronic or acute based on the duration of the illness and symptoms. Chronic implies that the patient will suffer from the ailment for an indefinite period. This happens because the bronchi are irritated continuously, and the sufferer always has a persistent cough. On the other hand, acute bronchitis is a little less severe in that it can last for ten days, though a cough may persist. Thus, when it comes to its management, it will be dependent on the symptoms and cause.

How is Bronchitis Managed?

Different people react differently to certain drugs. Your diagnosis will determine how you are treated. Some forms of bronchitis, actually require more aggressive treatments than others, and the sufferer’s physique will also have a lot to do with it.

  • Rest and Fluid Intake

Since bronchitis is sometimes caused by irritation or as a secondary condition to flu or cold, you should not be surprised when your doctor recommends that you just take a few days of rest. This will prevent you from exposure to the factors like dust, chemicals, and viruses. Increasing your water intake will also be recommended so that your body can recover faster and improve your immunity levels.

  • Common Medications

The physician will usually prescribe a cough suppressant in order to help expel the mucus that is blocking the airway. Some individuals might also need to take pain relievers since they might experience pain in the back and lower abdomen due to persistent coughing. Also, antipyretics will be given to those who already have a fever, usually when their temperatures are at 38 degrees Celcius and up.


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Antibiotics are not commonly prescribed since most cases of bronchitis are caused by viruses and environmental factors. However, once the doctor suspects or finds out that the cause is bacteria, then the right antibiotics will be given. A thing to remember when you are prescribed with such is to finish the full prescription even if your symptoms are already gone.

  • Humidifiers

There are a lot of remedies that you can use to assist you with your breathing by clearing and freeing up the mucus in your airway. If you want a non-medical solution, then you should consider investing in a humidifier. People have used humidifiers to help manage their bronchitis as they can add oils and methanol and inhale the vapor while they sleep. However, you should not take yourself off your prescription medication without first talking to your doctor.

  • Other Medications

As mentioned earlier, some doctors will prescribe inhalers, especially in cases wherein the difficulty in breathing is at its highest level, and the symptoms are persistent. This is commonly given in bronchitis sufferers who also have allergies, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Some individuals have been skeptical about this treatment plan. As such, let us have a better understanding of what does an inhaler do for bronchitis.

What Does an Inhaler Do for Bronchitis?

A lot of people are unaware that individuals with bronchitis can also use inhalers. Inhalers come in different colors to differentiate the main medicines, either bronchodilators, steroids, or a combination, present. Bronchodilators can be short acting or long acting. Short-acting bronchodilators work quickly to open the airways of the user while the long-acting bronchodilators are used to control the respiratory symptoms. These can be used up to twice a day. Usually, they are used in conjunction with an inhaled steroid for a long-term solution.

On the other hand, inhaled steroids are frequently used in isolation to allow the user to have reduced symptoms and fewer flare-ups. If a sufferer of bronchitis has such an inhaler, it reduces the need for them to visit the hospital. Steroids are slow acting, so they should not be taken when you have difficulty breathing. They need to be taken daily for noticeable improvements in a three-week period.


It seems as if an inhaler can do quite a lot for the person suffering from bronchitis. However, not all persons suffering from bronchitis will be prescribed an inhaler unless your doctor deems it to be necessary.

Inhalers containing bronchodilators can be used to immediately relieve the symptoms of bronchitis, whereas steroid inhalers are most frequently used for the long-term control of the disease. Also, steroids together with bronchodilators may provide long-term solutions for controlling your bronchitis. You might also be able to use this along with other natural treatment methods like humidifiers.

Generally, inhalers are usually only prescribed for persons who suffer from chronic bronchitis. Sufferers of acute bronchitis may be encouraged to use home remedies, and in rare instances, the doctor responsible for their care may provide antibiotics if they suspect an infection. One single thing to remember is that you should not gain possession of either antibiotics or inhalers without a prescription from your doctor.