Discharge Instructions for Chronic Bronchitis

Discharge Instructions for Chronic Bronchitis

March 21, 2017

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


March 21, 2017


Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis of the Epidemiological Evidence Relating Smoking to COPD, Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema. Foley B. BMC Pulmonary Medicine. 2011;11(36):1-61.

Reviewed By:  

Berry, Judith, PhD, APRN,Blaivas, Allen J., DO