What Is Bronchitis?
Bronchitis is a respiratory disease in which the mucus membrane in the lungs’ bronchial passages becomes inflamed.
As the irritated membrane swells and grows thicker, it narrows or shuts off the tiny airways in the lungs, resulting in coughing spells that may be accompanied by phlegm and breathlessness.
Bronchitis can be described as being either:
- acute bronchitis – temporary inflammation of the airways, causing a cough and mucus production, lasting up to three weeks; acute bronchitis can affect people of all ages but mostly affects children under the age of five;
- chronic bronchitis – a daily productive cough that lasts for three months of the year and for at least two years in a row; chronic bronchitis is one of a number of lung conditions, including emphysema.
For either acute bronchitis or chronic bronchitis, signs and symptoms may include:
- Production of mucus (sputum), which can be clear, white, yellowish-gray or green in color — rarely, it may be streaked with blood
- Shortness of breath
- Slight fever and chills
- Chest discomfort
Acute bronchitis can be contagious, however, acute bronchitis caused by exposure to pollutants, tobacco smoke and other chemicals is not contagious. Acute bronchitis is diagnosed by the patient’s history, physical exam, and possibly procedures or tests.
- Some home remedies may relieve and soothe bronchitis symptoms.
- Some medications may relieve bronchitis symptoms, for example, cough suppressants, NSAIDs, acetaminophen, and antibiotics (for bacterial infections only). In children under age 2, a pediatrician should be consulted before OCT medicines are used.
What Triggers Bronchitis?
Acute bronchitis is normally caused by viruses, typically those that also cause colds and flu.It can also be caused by bacterial infection and exposure to substances that irritate the lungs, such as tobacco smoke, dust, fumes, vapors and air pollution.
Natural Home Remedies For Bronchitis
People suffering from bronchitis often try over-the-counter medications to manage the symptoms. There are also many simple, natural home remedies that can provide relief:
This will help soothe the throat as well as keep the body hydrated. Also, it is suggested that people with bronchitis refrain from drinking caffeine and alcohol as this will only more rapidly lead to dehydration. Water in other forms can aid as well. Moisture from a vaporizer can help break down mucus.
- Home-made vapor rub
Putting eucalyptus oiland peppermint oilon the chest with warm compress can relieve bronchitis symptoms. Also, you can apply a homemade essential oils vapor rub to open up the lungs and improve bronchitis symptoms.
Eucalyptus helps to soften mucus in obstructed airways and has some antibacterial properties. (If you want to use eucalyptus leaves, simply boil them in a pot of water, then remove from the heat and inhale the steam.) Pine oil acts as an expectorant, so it will help you ‘bring up’ phlegm from the bronchial tubes.
- Cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper is an excellent way to break up phlegm when you have bronchitis. Cayenne greatly improves circulation, too. As part of using natural bronchitis remedies, consider putting cayenne in your food to help heal quicker. Cayenne pepper is of high nutritional value, as it contains vitamin A, B complexes and vitamin C. It is also a rich source of carotenoids, organic calcium and potassium.
- Oregano oil
Traditional healers since ancient times have used oregano extract to treat respiratory issues such as coughs, colds, flu, sore throats and bronchitis.
- Ginger, cinnamon, and clove
Whisk the above ingredients together in a small glass jar and then add 1 teaspoon of the spiced honey into a cup of hot tea or coffee (or plain hot water) each morning or just eat right from the spoon.
The University of Maryland Medical Center claims fresh garlic may help acute bronchitis and cites a study where individuals received garlic for 12 weeks over the winter months. These people had 63 percent fewer cases of upper respiratory illnesses or colds and the ones who did become ill recovered a day faster.
At the same time, honey will boost your immune system. Adding one teaspoon of honey to your regular cup of tea will help a lot when suffering from bronchitis. You can also add honey to warm lemon water to treat congestion and throat inflammation that often accompanies bronchitis.