HealthSheets™


Discharge Instructions for Chronic Bronchitis

You have been diagnosed with chronic bronchitis. With this condition, you cough up mucus and feel short of breath for 3 months or more each year for at least 2 years in a row.

Home care

Here is how you can take care of yourself at home: 

  • If you smoke, quit. This is the best thing you can do for your bronchitis and overall health.

    • Try a stop-smoking program. There are even telephone and internet programs.

    • Ask your healthcare provider about medicines or other methods to help you quit.

    • Ask family members to quit smoking as well.

    • Don’t allow smoking in your home, in your car, or around you.

  • Protect yourself from infection.

    • Wash your hands often. Do your best to keep your hands away from your face. Most germs are spread from your hands to your mouth or nose.

    • Ask your healthcare provider about a yearly flu vaccine and pneumonia vaccines.

    • Avoid crowds. It's especially important to do this in the winter when more people have colds and flu.

    • Take care of your overall health. That means:

      • Getting about 8 hours of sleep every night

      • Exercising for at least 30 minutes on most days

      • Eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, lean meats and fish, and low-fat dairy products. Avoiding fat- and sugar-filled foods is also important.

      • Limiting the amount of alcoholic beverages you drink.

  • Take your medicines exactly as directed. Don’t skip doses.

  • Talk to your healthcare provider about ways to keep your mucus thin. Drinking a lot of water helps.

  • Ask your healthcare provider to show you pursed-lip breathing to help decrease shortness of breath.

  • Find out about pulmonary rehabilitation programs in your area. Ask your provider or local hospital.

Follow-up care

Make all of your follow-up appointments as directed by our staff.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your provider immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing

  • Increased mucus

  • Yellow, green, bloody, or smelly mucus

  • Fever or chills

  • Tightness in your chest that does not go away with your normal medicines

  • An irregular heartbeat or feeling that your heart is racing

  • Swollen ankles

© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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