Treatment of Acute Bronchitis
Acute bronchitis is very common disease affecting both adult people and children. Current medical literature and research recommend the non-use of antibiotic medications for this problem, but many doctors still prescribe these drugs to their patients. It is estimated that about 70% of patients suffering from acute bronchitis get prescription antibiotics, although they are completely unnecessary. The problem becomes much worse, because this practice of prescribing antibiotics when they are not needed causes increased number of patients resistant to certain antibiotics. For this reason, these patients might face some very serious medical problems at some point of their life.
Antibiotics should be prescribed to treat people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but this is not the case if someone’s suffering from acute bronchitis. The most common cause of acute bronchitis is viral infection and antibiotics simply don’t work against viruses. Doctors can differentiate these two conditions by the sputum, which is purulent if the patient is having acute bronchitis caused by some virus.
When to Use Antibiotics for Acute Bronchitis
In most cases, acute bronchitis last for maximum of 7 days and antibiotics are advised to be used only if patient doesn’t get better after that time. Viral influenza can complicate acute bronchitis, and if the symptoms don’t disappear after a week consult your doctor if you need antibiotics.
There are also some other times, when the use of antibiotic drugs is recommended in patients suffering from acute bronchitis. Persistent coughing that last for a long time in patient suffering from acute bronchitis allows the doctor to prescribe antibiotics. Macrolide antibiotics, such as erythromycin or azithromycin are efficient against Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Bordetella pertusis and Chlamydia pneumonia, which are all bacteria known to cause long-lasting cough in some cases.
If the condition of the patient worsens, it might indicate that it is caused by some bacteria and the patient need to be examined again to diagnose the condition. Bacterial infection as the cause of acute bronchitis should be treated with antibiotics.
Patients suffering from cystic fibrosis frequently get infected with Staphylococcus aureus. This gram negative bacterium requires treatment with antibiotics. The same therapy is recommended for patients suffering from COPD, infected with Haemophilus influenzae or Streptococcus pneumoniae.
Above mentioned are the only medical exceptions when acute bronchitis should be treated with antibiotic drugs. All patients should know that antibiotics are not recommended for all cases and that these medications should be used only if and when necessary.