Do Steroids Help Bronchitis? 7 Things You Should Know Before Undergoing Steroid Treatment

do steroids help bronchitis

Bronchitis, a respiratory infection caused by inflammation of the bronchial tubes, has been recognized and feared for many centuries. The disease has been noted in various cultures including Ancient Greek, Chinese, and Indian civilizations. The term ‘bronchitis’ was coined by London physician Charles Badham in his 1808 publication, but the disease had already claimed many lives and caused much suffering before this point.

In the past, bronchitis was often a terminal illness. The relentless cough, difficulty breathing, and the resultant vulnerability to other infections made it a dreaded affliction. Particularly in the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, bronchitis could rapidly progress from a debilitating condition to a fatal one.

However, the field of medical science has made significant strides in the management and treatment of bronchitis, transforming it from a once fatal disease to a manageable condition. Our understanding of its causes, symptoms, and progression has greatly improved, leading to the development of diverse and effective treatments.

Novel Treatments for Chronic Bronchitis

One of the most promising advancements in recent years is the emergence of new bronchoscopic treatment modalities for patients with chronic bronchitis. These innovative treatments target the problem of chronic bronchitis and frequent exacerbations, offering hope to patients who remain highly symptomatic despite much effort.

RheOx Bronchial Rheoplasty

One such novel treatment is the RheOx bronchial rheoplasty. One of the main problems with chronic bronchitis is addressed by the RheOx catheter, which uses brief bursts of high-frequency electrical energy to ablate abnormal mucus-producing cells in the bronchial airways.

Devices for Treatment of COPD

Technological developments in the management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a frequent concomitant condition of bronchitis, have also proven advantageous. These devices can help manage the symptoms of COPD, which can exacerbate the symptoms of bronchitis.

Early Treatment and Lifestyle Changes

Early treatment, combined with lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation, can prevent lung damage from progressing further in patients with advanced chronic bronchitis. Since viral infections are the most common cause of acute bronchitis, protussives, antitussives, or bronchodilators should be used for symptomatic treatment.

Lung Transplantation

For carefully selected patients, lung transplantation provides an effective treatment option, offering a chance at improved quality of life.

Among these options, the use of steroids has garnered significant attention.

Steroids and Bronchitis: A Promising Treatment?

The use of steroids, or corticosteroids, for bronchitis treatment has been a subject of much debate. These powerful anti-inflammatory drugs have the potential to reduce inflammation in the bronchial tubes, which could alleviate symptoms and help patients breathe more easily. But can you take steroids for bronchitis? And what exactly do steroids do for bronchitis?

1. What Does the Research Say?

The effectiveness of steroids for bronchitis treatment is still a matter of ongoing research. Some studies suggest that steroids do not improve patient-oriented or clinical outcomes in non-asthmatic acute bronchitis. 

These studies argue that the inflammation in bronchitis is different from that in asthma and does not respond well to steroids. However, other studies have shown that oral or parenteral corticosteroids and inhaled corticosteroids can be effective in treating bronchitis. According to these studies, steroids can lessen inflammation, which facilitates patients’ breathing. 

2. The Risk Factor

Steroids, while potentially helpful, carry risks. For those who have diabetes, they may result in elevated blood sugar levels, which can be problematic. Glaucoma can be caused by elevated intraocular pressure (IOP). Mood swings are another typical adverse effect. Long-term use can lead to more serious side effects like osteoporosis, cataracts, and muscle weakness.

3. When Are Steroids Prescribed?

Steroids are typically prescribed for severe cases of bronchitis, particularly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), where inflammation is severe and persistent. When all other options have been exhausted, they are typically utilized as a last resort.

4. Types of Steroids Used

The type of steroid prescribed can vary depending on the severity of the condition. While inhaled corticosteroids may be used for long-term management of chronic bronchitis, oral steroids such as prednisone are frequently used for severe cases. The risk of systemic side effects is decreased by inhaled corticosteroids because they deliver the medication directly to the lungs.

5. Steroids and Immunity

Steroid use over time can weaken the immune system, which makes it more difficult for the body to fight off infections. This is why patients taking steroids are often more susceptible to infections.

6. Alternatives to Steroids

If steroids are not suitable or effective, other treatments may be considered. These include bronchodilators, which help open up the bronchial tubes and make breathing easier; mucolytics, which thin the mucus in the lungs; and lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, which can help reduce inflammation and improve lung function.

7. The Future of Steroid Treatment

Researchers continue to explore the potential benefits and drawbacks of steroid treatment for bronchitis. The available treatments for this condition will also change as our understanding of it does. This could include new types of steroids, different dosing strategies, or entirely new categories of medication.

Lifestyle Changes and Home Remedies for Bronchitis Treatment

In conclusion, the use of steroids in bronchitis treatment has potential benefits and risks. They are not without side effects and might not be the best course of action for everyone, even though they can be relieving in certain situations. Therefore, it is imperative to seek the advice of a healthcare professional for specific guidance.

Beyond medical treatments like steroids, lifestyle changes and home remedies can play an essential role in managing bronchitis symptoms and improving overall lung health. These include:

Quitting Smoking

If you smoke, this is probably the most crucial action you can do. Smoking damages your lungs and worsens bronchitis symptoms.

Avoiding Irritants

Substances that can irritate your lungs, such as dust, fumes from household cleaners, air pollution, and pollen should be avoided.

Wearing a Mask

If you cannot avoid exposure to irritants, wearing a mask can help protect your lungs.

Healthy Diet

Consuming a diet high in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains can help maintain the strength and health of your body.


Engaging in regular physical activity can enhance lung function by strengthening respiratory muscles.

Staying Hydrated

Drinking plenty of fluids can help thin the mucus in your lungs, making it easier to cough up.


Your body can focus more energy on battling the infection when you are sleeping.

Recall that there are numerous methods for managing symptoms and enhancing quality of life, even though bronchitis can be a difficult illness to live with. It is imperative that you consult your healthcare provider about all of your treatment options, including the use of steroids, in order to determine which course of action is best for you.

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