After 640 bronchitis patients first saw their 6.doctors, coughing lasted for 11 days whether they received antibiotics or not. Other symptoms, such as increased phlegm and shortness of breath, cleared up less than one day sooner in those who took antibiotics.

Bottom line: Most bronchitis is caused by viruses, not bacteria—and antibiotics are ineffective against viral infections.

Self-defense: Talk to your doctor about taking acetaminophen (Tylenol), which reduces fever and relieves sore throat and muscle pain. Inhaling steam for five minutes three times a day also may be effective.

Want to Keep Reading?

Continue reading with a Health Confidential membership.

Sign up now Already have an account? Sign in