What is bronchitis?Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial mucous membrane. Mostly it is caused by viruses (influenza, parainfluenza, adeno, respiratory Rino) or bacterias (Streptococcus pneumoniae haemofilus influenzae, Staphylococcus aureus, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae). Germs such as viruses can be spread from person to person by coughing or if you touch your mouth, nose, eyes after coming into contact with respiratory fluids from an infected person. Also bronchitis can be caused by other respiratory tract irritant substances: dust, acid fumes, toxic gases and smoke, gastric reflux.
What are the symptoms of bronchitis?
The main symptoms of bronhitis:
- Cough (may bring up thick white, yellow or greenish mucus)
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Blocked or runny nose
How is bronchitis diagnosed?There are several tests that are used to diagnose bronchitis. If a doctor hears wheezing or abnormal sounds when listening to your lungs with a stethoscope, doctor will often order chest X-rays. Physicians will also order an analysis of sputum (material coughed up from lungs) called a sputum culture, which can reveal the type of bacteria, if any, that is present in your body. Additional tests include blood tests and oxygen saturation measurements.
Bronchitis treatmentBronchitis is usually treated with antibiotics. Therefore, patients with bronchitis which is caused by viruses cannot be treated by antibiotics, so they only need to have a rest, smoke - is strictly forbidden, avoid caffeine and alcohol, because they lead to greater loss of fluid. It is also recommended to drink at least three - four glasses of water per day. In some cases the symptoms of bronchitis can last much longer. If symptoms last for at least three months, this is known as chronic bronchitis. There is no cure for chronic bronchitis but there are several medications to help relieve symptoms. It is also important to avoid smoking and smoky environments, as this can make your symptoms worse.
Natural ways to treat bronchitisHoney - Most folks just use honey and lemon though - 1 teaspoon honey and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Stir to combine and keep on the back of your throat as long as possible as you swallow it.
Onions - To relieve cough, it is recommended that you slice an onion and cover with honey - allow standing overnight and then taking out the onion. Use 1 teaspoon of this honey 4 times a day.
Almonds - Supposedly they help heal respiratory illnesses - toasted with a little honey or eat raw, chopped onto other foods.
Lemons - slice or so of lemon or lemon rind in 1 cup of boiling water. Let steep for 5-10 minutes and drink. Gargle with lemon juice mixed with warm water (1 teaspoon in 1 cup warm water). This loosens mucus as well.
Bay leaf - good for bronchitis - but not if you are pregnant as it can induce bleeding. To use, you make a tea of 1 leaf in 1 cup boiling water and drink. Some people also make an application of it by soaking leaves in hot water and applying to the chest (cover with a kitchen towel and rewarm if it cools)
Ginger tea - Use 1/2 teaspoon ginger, some ground cloves and bit of cinnamon - steep in 1 cup of boiling water and drink.
What's the best way to avoid getting bronchitis?Washing your hands often helps to prevent the spread of many of the germs that cause the condition especially during cold season.
If you don't smoke, don't ever start smoking and if you do smoke, try to quit or cut down. Try to avoid being around smokers because even secondhand smoke can make you more susceptible to viral infections and increase congestion in your airway. Also, be sure to get plenty of rest and eat healthy so that your body can fight off any illnesses that you come in contact with.