Sometimes, run-of-the-mill infections can turn worse, and become more than just common cold or cough. The degree of your cold, wheezing and coughing increases drastically, causing breathlessness and chest congestion. You might just feel the virus is a bit more strong, it might be Bronchitis.
Well, to make it simpler to understand, Bronchitis is an infection in the lower respiratory tract that carry air to your lungs. They swell up, are inflamed, and filled with mucus. Although it is temporary and reduces in a few weeks, the cough usually lingers around for longer.
To ascertain whether you are actually suffering from bronchitis, here are a few questions you should ask yourself:
- Are you coughing continuously?
- Do you feel breathless?
- Does your head start hurting?
If your answer is a yes for most of the questions, then you might have bronchitis. So, what do you do when you are diagnosed with bronchitis? Fortunately, you need not grin and bear it. There are various remedies that can ease your symptoms and suffering. However, in chronic cases, you might also have to take some extra care and treatments. So, read on to know all about treating bronchitis.
Natural remedies at a glance
Get good rest
When you’re fighting infections, your body needs downtime to get better. It is quite a difficult thing to slow down and catch some rest, but it’s important to do that. Research has found that the body needs adequate sleep to maintain a healthy immune system. The more sleep deprived you are, the more you become vulnerable to infections, especially cold and flu viruses.
Drink lots of water
Keeping your body well-hydrated when battling bronchitis helps in thinning out the mucus, making it easier to flush it out from the system. Having a fair amount of water is fine, but warm liquids can be more soothing. Avoid intake of alcohol and caffeinated beverages that cause dehydration.
Inhale some steam
Steam inhalation is widely recommended for loosening mucus and to relieve wheezing issues. You can use a warm-air humidifier or a vapouriser. Adding drops of essential oils like eucalyptus, or tulsi can help open up the clogged airway and provide relief. Repeat this at least 2-3 times a day for effective results. Eucalyptus has anti-inflammatory and pain-relief properties and is widely used for headaches and cold.
So, these are the top three ways to treat yourself from bronchial cough and discomfort. Now let’s move on to treating chronic bronchitis.
Bronchitis is usually something that gradually gets cured over a few weeks, with proper care of course. This type of bronchitis is called “acute bronchitis”. But sometimes, it might get stubborn enough not to leave you.
In such cases, the symptoms may last for a prolonged period. If you’re not feeling any better for at least three months, it’s ‘chronic bronchitis’. Chronic bronchitis does not have a cure, but several medications can help relieve the symptoms. And if you are a smoker, please note that it is crucial to avoid smoking, as this can worsen your condition.
Acute Bronchitis Treatments
A bout of acute bronchitis often fades on its own. Letting your body relax and rest with plenty of warm fluids may help it vanish quickly. Few other treatments include:
- Cough suppressants: Your doctor might recommend cough suppressants only if you’re not bringing up mucus anymore. However, if you are, it means your airways still need to be cleared.
- Pain relievers
- Sleeping near a humidifier
- Sitting in a steam room
- Bronchodilators: These are inhaling medicines which aid in open your airway tract.
Chronic Bronchitis Treatments
Therapy for chronic bronchitis aims to relieve symptoms, prevent complications and slow down the progression of the disease. Smoking tobacco can further damage the lungs.
Hence, if you are a smoker with chronic bronchitis, “QUIT RIGHT NOW”.
Other treatments include:
- Bronchodilator Medications: Bronchodilator medications are inhaling aerosol sprays which help relieve symptoms of chronic bronchitis by opening up the air passages in the lungs. They are also available in the form of oral medications.
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics can be used to fight respiratory infections.
- Vaccines: Patients with chronic bronchitis might need to get a flu shot annually and for pneumonia every five to seven years.
- Oxygen Therapy: As a patient’s disease progresses, breathing becomes significantly difficult, and may require supplemental oxygen. Oxygen can be delivered to the patient through different devices, some of which you can use at home.
- Surgery: Although medications and some care can help controlling and managing chronic bronchitis, your doctor might recommend a lung volume reduction surgery if your bronchitis is very severe. This procedure involves removal of small wedges of the damaged lung tissue.
- Pulmonary Rehabilitation: Pulmonary rehabilitation is an integral part of chronic bronchitis treatment. It includes awareness, nutrition counselling, learning special breathing techniques etc. Another critical aspect to be considered is regular physical activity. Being active improves the patient’s health, vitality and wellbeing.
So if you think you have bronchitis, or if you’ve been diagnosed with it, you already know what to do about it. If you feel you need help, here we are, to help you breathe!