Bronchitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the bronchial tubes (the airways that carry air in and out of the lungs). The condition is usually accompanied by a cough that brings out mucus which is a substance made by the lining of the bronchial tubes. Bronchitis is usually caused by exposure to a cold, the flu, or other type of infection and/or irritant. Acute bronchitis usually resolves within a few days, while chronic bronchitis is a recurrent, serious condition.
Acute bronchitis is commonly caused by the same viruses responsible for causing colds and the flu. In other instances, acute bronchitis is caused by a bacterial infection. Chronic bronchitis is usually caused by air pollution, cigarette smoke, dust, and toxic gases in the environment; however, the most common cause is cigarette smoking.
The symptoms of acute bronchitis are similar to those of the common cold, such as sneezing, runny nose, and a cough with a wheezing sound which soon becomes deep and painful, bringing up a greenish yellow sputum. High body temperatures are very common. The symptoms disappear within a few days, however, the cough may continue for several weeks.
The symptoms of chronic bronchitis are the same as those for acute bronchitis; however the cough in chronic bronchitis is more productive, lasting at least three months for two consecutive years with periods when the symptoms seem to worsen meaning that you may have acute bronchitis on top of your chronic bronchitis.
The diagnosis of the condition may be done based on observation of the symptoms and a thorough medical history examination of the patient. The health care professional may practice a chest examination with a stethoscope to listen to the lungs. A sputum exam may be practiced to identify the infectious organism. Chronic bronchitis may be diagnosed by practicing a pulmonary function test using a spirometer to measure the quantity of air coming in and out of the lungs. Chest x-ray may determine other conditions causing the cough. Blood tests may be practiced as well.
To prevent your risk of getting bronchitis avoid cigarette smoking, as cigarette smoke increases the risk of developing bronchitis and emphysema; avoid exposure to environmental irritants, such as air and chemical pollution; wash your hands frequently to reduce your risk of catching a viral infection; avoid foods, such as dairy products which can increase production of mucus; intake supplements of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as zinc and bioflavonoids to prevent recurrence of secondary infections.
Although a single episode of bronchitis is not considered a cause of concern, it can sometimes lead to pneumonia in some individuals. Repeated bouts of bronchitis may be a sign of asthma, chronic bronchitis, tuberculosis, or sinusitis. Chronic bronchitis is a serious medical condition and the chance of recovery is minimal in people with severe chronic bronchitis. Consult your doctor if your cough lasts more than three weeks, or is accompanied by discolored bloody mucus or a high fever.
Normally, acute bronchitis is treated in a similar way as the common cold, including the intake of plenty of fluids, breathing of moisturized warm air, and taking over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, Panadol) to relieve fever and pain. Expectorants can thin mucus, allowing coughing easier and expelling mucus. In the treatment of bronchitis, it is important to quit smoking and avoid second hand smoke.
When treated appropriately, acute bronchitis usually resolves in a lapse time of one to two weeks. Unfortunately, there´s no cure for chronic bronchitis; however, you may benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation which is a therapeutic program that teaches how to increase your ability to exercise and breath more easily.
19 Effective Home Remedies:
There are many effective home remedies for treatment of this ailment. Here are some of them:
- -Person suffering from this ailment has to drink lot of warm fluids like soup. This is very important as it facilitates expulsion of phlegm and provides relief to the throat. Warm milk with a spoon of turmeric and black pepper is found to be very effective against bronchitis.
- -Inhaling steam coming out of boiling water mixed with a few drops of rosemary, eucalyptus or peppermint oil is very effective in clearing respiratory passages.
- -Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is a herb with great medicinal value. So much that this plant is worshiped in some Hindu households. Consuming tulsi leaves with warm water is found to cure bronchitis.
- -Gurgling with warm salt water (one teaspoon of salt dissolved in a glass of water) helps in curing inflammation in the throat region.
- -Consuming a teaspoon of raw onion juice in the morning is effective against bronchitis. Onion removes phlegm and also prevents its formation in the future.
- -Keeping pomegranate fruit skin in the mouth and sucking its juice is effective against bronchitis.
- -Clove has great medicinal value. Just keeping clove in the mouth and sucking its juice provides relief from bronchitis.
- -Ginger, clove and cinnamon (quarter spoon each) dissolved in 2 cups of water is effective against bronchitis.
- -Consuming a pinch of pepper powder, sugar and ghee mixture is another effective remedy for this ailment.
- -Consuming 250 ml of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of honey and fresh spinach leaves is very effective against bronchitis.
- -Consuming mint juice is proved to be effective against this irritating ailment..
- -Drinking fresh cabbage juice daily cures bronchitis.
- -Consuming a mixture of honey and green ginger juice (1:2) is very effective against bronchitis.
- -Consuming asafoetida dissolved in warm water provides relief from this ailment.
- -Drinking warm water after consuming dates is effective against bronchitis.
- -Keeping raisins and sugar in the mouth and sucking in its juice gradually is one of the easiest home remedies for bronchitis.
- -Mixing almond powder (prepared with seven kernels) with a glass of lemon juice and consuming it daily before going to sleep helps a great deal in fighting bronchitis.
- -Consuming a mixture of half a teaspoon of powdered sesame seeds and 2 table spoons of water is effective against bronchitis.
- -Consuming half a teaspoon of dry chicory (endive) root powder with one teaspoon of honey is another home remedy for bronchitis.
While the above mentioned home remedies are good for treatment of bronchitis it is suggested that the patient visits a certified physician if the symptoms persist. It is very important that the patient takes a lot of rest.