Bronchitis sufferers must endure a lack of sufficient air to their lungs. Without adequate oxygen reaching their organs, bronchitis can quickly cause a host of other ailments. Millions of people endure this painful condition every year, despite clear advice that could prevent its spread.
Possible CausesPatients recovering from bouts with viral respiratory infections often suffer from acute bronchitis. Though most patients can successfully battle the bacteria that like to grow in weakened lungs, patients with weakened immune systems may suffer longer. Typically, children, the elderly, and smokers of all ages encounter acute bronchitis during their hospital stays.
Chronic bronchitis, also called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, affects long-time smokers. Although sufferers of chronic bronchitis do not have to battle a viral infection, they experience even worse symptoms because of the constant inflammation and irritation of their lungs. Exposure to other irritants, especially in jobs that involve working in hazardous atmospheres, can aggravate this condition further.
Signs and SymptomsIn both types of bronchitis, patients experience almost constant wheezing and coughing. Sufferers of acute bronchitis produce yellow or green mucus, a sure indicator of the body’s fight against a viral infection. Even mild activity can wipe out a bronchitis sufferer, which is why patients with chronic bronchitis can rarely muster the energy to perform routine tasks.
Along with persistent discomfort in their chests, most bronchitis sufferers also experience a low-grade fever while their body struggles to overcompensate for a lack of oxygen. In the most extreme cases, a patient’s lips and outer extremities may even turn blue.
Treatments for BronchitisIn cases of acute bronchitis where a patient suffers from a weakened immune system or they did not receive treatment in time to ward off serious infection, doctors may prescribe antibiotics. In most situations, doctors may recommend an over the counter pain medication like aspirin or acetaminophen to relieve symptoms while the body naturally fights off infection.
Doctors often prescribe inhaled medications to dilate air passages in the lungs to relieve the wheezing and improve airflow.Many doctors indicate that antibiotics no longer serve a useful purpose for most patients suffering from acute bronchitis. Though the infection clears faster, it can also cause viral strains to build resistance to treatment or to evolve into even deadlier diseases. Instead, patients can enjoy herbal teas that contain combinations of ginger, lemon, and eucalyptus. Not only do they taste good, their powerful vapors can help unblock passageways and break apart mucus formations.
Because sugar can sometimes depress the body’s immune systems, nutritionists now recommend that bronchitis sufferers drink vegetable juice instead of fruit juice. The natural source of key vitamins and minerals maximizes the body’s ability to bounce back from acute bronchitis, and can help reverse some of the damage that smoking has caused to the systems of chronic bronchitis patients. Strong doses of vitamins A and C in the juices can speed up recovery significantly.
Chicken soup is not just a great meal for a cold winter day. It earned its reputation as a classic natural remedy for bronchitis because of its natural decongestive and antiviral qualities, many of which are still under serious scientific investigation. We may not understand why it works so well, but it gives us a good excuse to enjoy more of it. Nutritionists suggest adding cayenne pepper and garlic to meals whenever possible. Both spices break up mucus and add a much-needed boost to the immune system.
Patients who must take antibiotics to clear up a secondary infection must rebuild essential digestive bacteria, while avoiding mucus-producing dairy products. Nutritionists recommend taking capsule supplements of acidophilus, the helpful bacteria we often find in yogurt.
For chronic bronchitis sufferers, physical therapists suggest a combination of aromatherapy and hydrotherapy to soothe inflamed lungs and break up any congestion. Essential oils, like eucalyptus, produce a powerful cleansing effect in the lungs. They allow patients to breathe more deeply, sending nourishing oxygen throughout the body. Using a simple hot compress on the chest every two hours can also help patients who struggle with shallow breathing.
Preventative MeasuresThe most important thing you can do to prevent bronchitis is to stop smoking. If you tried to quit smoking in the past and failed, try again. Though it can be one of the most frustrating experiences of your life, quitting smoking produces immediate benefits to your immune system. The damaging effects of smoking can start to subside even after only a few days.
Experts recommend replacing smoking with other, more rewarding rituals. Aerobic exercise and yoga can relax the mind, while forcing the body into a healthier new routine. Other former smokers have used herbal supplements to rid their bodies of dangerous nicotine addiction. By restoring natural balance to the body’s metabolism, even a former heavy smoker can prevent future battles with chronic bronchitis.
Final ThoughtsBy the time many chronic bronchitis patients receive their diagnosis, it may already be too late to reverse the effects of smoking. Patients may have to spend the rest of their lives managing the symptoms of chronic bronchitis. Therefore, you can invest time and energy today into boosting your immune system and making healthy decisions. This way, you can breathe easily for the rest of your life.