Symptoms of chronic bronchitis include wheezing breath and a chronic cough. The cough is generally productive, producing mucus that is clear, yellow, or green. With chronic bronchitis, these episodes last close to a month or longer, at least three months out of the year, for at least two years in a row.
Treatment for bronchitis starts with bronchodilators, inhaled steroids that open up the bronchioles and relax and open the air passageways. It can calm the coughing and the tightness in the chest.
Steroids are often prescribed in oral form. A more aggressive treatment with more serious side effects, sometimes oral steroids are necessary to calm down the intense inflammation caused by chronic bronchitis.
Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed as some flare-ups are caused by bacterial infections. Also, respiratory infections can develop as secondary to chronic bronchitis. The buildup of mucus and tightening of the airways creates a welcoming environment for bacteria.
Flu shots are important for annual maintenance and a pneumonia shot is recommended every five to seven years, as people with chronic bronchitis are much more vulnerable to pneumonia and flu. In serious cases, oxygen therapy or even surgery may be required for the treatment of chronic bronchitis.