Bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchi which is the main passageways in the lungs. The inflammation is usually caused by bacterial, virus, allergies or autoimmune diseases. It is characterized by prolonged severe coughing which can last for several weeks. Young infants and the elderly are susceptible to this condition.
Causes of bronchitis
- Smoking or secondhand smoke
- Environmental changes
- Air pollution
- Chronic bronchitis
- HIV infections
- Bronchopulmonary allergy
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- The cough is usually dry and unproductive
- Pain in the throat and lungs due to constant and severe coughing to lessen irritation.
- Red throat or infected pharynx
- Difficulty breathing or dyspnea
- Fever over 101.1 degrees F or 38.3 degrees C
- Expiratory wheezing
- Keep the body well hydrated while sick. Drink at least 8 oz of fluid every 1-2 hours. It also loosens the congestion and maintains proper functioning of the body. Another alternative is drinking diluted sports drinks and warm lemon water mixed with honey is good for the condition. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol to prevent dehydration.
- Take plenty of sleep at least 7 hours every night. If there is difficulty sleeping, elevate the head using a couple of pillows. Sleeping is needed for maintaining strong immune function and eliminate the virus in the body. Avoid performing moderate or vigoruous execises to prevent episodes of coughing.
- Use the prescribed bronchodilators if there is difficulty breathing. It comes in the form of inhaler that is sprayed directly into the bronchial tubes. It opens the tubes and eliminates the mucus. Clean the humidifier regularly to prevent growth of bacteria and fungi that can worsen the bronchitis. Another alternative is sitting inside a closed bathroom and run the shower in hot setting for half hour. Inhale the steam coming from the hot water to loosen up mucus in the throat and for easy breathing. The steam from the hot shower is the same as the vapor produced by the humidifier.
- Apply a warm compress on the chest to lessen the pressure due to coughing. The warm compress can be in the form of hot water bottle or a heating pad placed on the chest. Avoid placing heat directly on the skin to prevent further damage and worsen the condition.
- Avoid irritants such as smoke from cigarettes to prevent irritating the lungs and that result to chronic bronchitis. Wear a mask when exposed to house cleaners, paint, strong potent fumes and perfumes.
- When outside during cold weather, wear a face mask to prevent any disruption in the airways and worsen the condition. The face mask warms the air before reaching the airways.
- Take the prescribed over-the-counter cough suppressants to control the cough and minimize the production of phlegm.