Bronchitis is an inflammation and sometimes infection of the lining of the bronchial airway, the airways that connect the trachea and lungs. Bronchitis is often triggered by an upper respiratory infection and if not cared for properly can lead to pneumonia. In many ways it is very similar to a cold. It is usually the result of a virus, and consequently antibiotics will not do very much good. But sometimes bronchitis is caused by bacteria, and antibiotics are very effective in this case. Acute bronchitis usually heals spontaneously within 1-2 weeks, but after healing some people can experience wheezing. Here are some useful tips to breathe easier during the disease.
Stop smoking. This is the most important decision you can take, especially if you are a chronic sufferer. Quit smoking and your chances increase dramatically to get rid of bronchitis. Between 90 and 95 percent of chronic bronchitis are the direct consequence of smoking. Some lung damage may be irreversible, but with fewer years of smoking it is more likely to achieve complete healing.
Vehemently reject passive smoking. Avoid people who smoke, and if your partner is a smoker, led him to quit. Smoking practiced by others can be the cause of your bronchitis. Exosure to “second hand” smoke also known as passive smoking can lead to bronchitis.
Maintain fluid intake. Drinking plenty of fluids will help clear mucus fluid and will relieve the cough. 5 to 7 glasses of water per day means a good thing to get rid of bronchitis. Hot liquids or plain water are the best. Avoid caffeine and alcohol (they are diuretics and stimulate urination, causing a considerable loss of fluid).
Breathe in warm and humid environment. Warm, moist air facilitates mucus expectoration. If you have a thick or difficult to remove phlegm, a vaporizer will help streamline secretions. A cheaper alternative to the vaporizer is an electric pot for boiling water, placed in the bedroom. The same thing you can do in the shower breathing vapors gathered in the room.
Stand over the sink. Fill sink with hot water, cover your head with a towel that also covers the sink edges and inhale vapors for 5-10 minutes every several hours.
Listen to your cough. If you have a productive cough with expectorated phlegm, do not not to stop it completely. If you do not cough, lung tissue will not be able to remove what it wants to remove. On the other hand, if the cough is not productive, you have to resort to drugs to suppress it. Most effective cough suppressant ingredient in preparations sold over the counter is pholcodine.
Focus on prevention. The categories of persons who are at the greatest risk of contracting bronchitis are of course infants, young children, heavy smokers, heart or lung disease sufferers and older people. Vulnerable people should avoid outdoor activity and performing exhausting exercise in places where air pollution is high.
Vaccinate yourself against influenza. If you have chronic bronchitis, vaccinate against flu each fall. Vaccination against influenza is also recommended for people older than 60 years, asthma sufferers , heart sufferers , people with immune deficiency, and other chronic disease sufferrers. A vaccination against pneumococcal pneumonia is also recommended for these individuals, as well as for anyone over 75 years old.