If I have bronchitis do I need to take antibiotics?

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Antibiotics for acute bronchitis (Cochrane Review)

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If I have bronchitis do I need to take antibiotics?

Many cases of acute bronchitis are caused by viruses and do not benefit from antibiotic treatment. Acute means that the illness comes on suddenly (over a couple of days) rather than developing over a long period of time. Bronchitis simply means infection or inflammation of the bronchi, which are the airways into the lungs. Sometimes the bronchitis is caused by bacterial infection or there is a secondary bacterial infection as well as the viral infection. In these cases your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. If your infection is viral you can take pain relievers or cough medicines to ease the symptoms. See the NHS Direct or Netdoctor websites for more details.

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Date of Posting: 21/06/2004
Date of next Review: 21/06/2005

Related Questions:
If I have a cough do I need to take antibiotics?
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Do older/younger people or people with other infections need antibiotics for a cough?
If antibiotics aren't going to help my cough what will?

MeSH keywords:
Bronchitis; Antibiotics

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