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Discharge Instructions for Bronchiectasis

You have been diagnosed with bronchiectasis. That means your bronchial tubes or bronchi are enlarged and stretched. The bronchi become damaged in a cycle:

  • The bronchi become clogged with mucus

  • This causes a lung infection 

  • The infection causes inflammation or swelling of the airways

  • The swelling weakens and stretches the bronchi

  • This causes more damage and more mucus build-up in infection.

What causes Bronchiectasis?

Many people who get bronchiectasis have a long-term lung problem, like cystic fibrosis. It can also occur after a lung infection or injury to the chest. Blocked airways from other causes, like growths or foreign objects, can also lead to bronchiectasis.

Stop Smoking

The best thing you can do for your lungs and your overall health is to quit smoking.

  • Ask your health care provider about medications or other methods to help you quit.

  • Stop smoking programs are available in your area, on the Internet, and on the telephone. Try the website or your state's quit line.

  • Ask family members and friends to quit smoking with you.

  • Stay away from places that allow smoking and don’t allow smoking in your home or around you.

Other Home Care

Your lung health:

  • Ask your health care provider for instructions on chest physical therapy. This is a method to help clear mucus from your lungs.

  • Talk with your health care provider about your need for supplemental oxygen.

  • Take your medication exactly as directed. If you have questions or concerns, talk with your provider or your pharmacist.

  • Make sure you know how to correctly use and clean your inhaler or nebulizer.

Your overall health:

  • Eat a balanced diet. This means a lot of fruits and vegetables, 100% whole grain products, lean meats or other protein, and low- or no-fat dairy products.

  • Unless told otherwise, drink at least 8 glasses of water every day to thin mucus and secretions.

Preventing infection and inflammation:

  • Get a flu shot every year. Ask your provider about a one-time pneumocococal pneumonia shot.

  • Avoid inhaling irritants. This includes pollen, dust, smoke, and air pollution.

  • Get immediate medical treatment for possible lung infections.

  • Consider installing a new home heating and air-conditioning system. The system can help filter irritants and control humidity.


Make a follow-up with your health care provider. Make sure you call your provider if you have any questions or concerns.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Call 911 right away if you have:

  • Chest pain.

  • Worsening shortness of breath.

Otherwise, call your health care provider immediately if you have:

  • Fever above 101.4°F

  • Abnormal mucus. For example, mucus with blood, an odor, or a dark color

  • An increased amount of mucus


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