Patient Education

Supportive Measures
  • Encourage patient to increase fluid intake to help prevent drying of bronchial secretions & to assist in clearing of sputum
  • Advise bed rest esp when fatigue & fever are prominent
  • Patient should eliminate cough triggers (eg dust & dander)
  • Increase humidity w/ vaporized air treatments in dry environments
Smoking Cessation
  • Severity of acute bronchitis attacks may be increased by exposure to cigarette smoke & air pollutants, thus avoid second-hand smoke exposure
  • In a patient who smokes, this may be a good opportunity to encourage smoking cessation
Emphasize Lack of Benefit of Antibiotic Treatment
  • Antibiotic therapy is not justified because acute bronchitis is primarily a viral illness
    • Exception is confirmed or probable bacterial infection (eg whooping cough)
    • Management should be individualized & adequately explained to patients
  • There is evidence that patient satisfaction does not depend on receiving antibiotics but on the quality of the patient-physician communication
  • Quality of patient-physician communication may be increased by reviewing the following w/ the patient:
    • Antibiotics provide little or no benefit in treatment of the disease
    • Risk of unnecessary antibiotic use (eg infection w/ resistant bacteria, GI side effects, risk of allergic reactions)
    • Condition is not serious & is expected to improve w/o antibiotics
    • Cough is part of the body’s defense mechanism & duration of cough may last 10-21 days
  • Patient should be advised to contact their health care provider if their condition worsens