Bronchitis is a respiratory disorder in which the mucus lining of the bronchi is inflamed. Bronchi are air passages from which air flows into the lung tissue. The internal lining of airway gets swollen and prevents to and fro movement of air. This results in bouts of cough and various other manifestations such as increased secretion of phlegm and breathing difficulty. Bronchitis can be acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis is sudden in onset and heals within a week or two, while its chronic form persists for a long period for more than three months or even a year.
Causes Of Acute And Chronic Bronchitis
Acute bronchitis is caused by bacteria and viruses and is often a sequel to coryza, influenza, measles, cold, dusty atmosphere, damp weather etc. Chronic mouth breathers also suffer from episodes of acute bronchitis as unfiltered air enters into the bronchi. Acute bronchitis is very common and can be treated at home with natural remedies.
Chronic bronchitis develops when the irritation to the bronchial linings persists for long duration. Most important cause is tobacco smoke, but it also includes fumes and smoke inhaled in specific occupations. It has become a health hazard in some parts of the world due to general air pollution especially in industrial cities and towns.Infection is sometimes a precipitating factor.
Sudden change in atmosphere and continuous exposure to damp surrounding may exacerbate chronic bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis occurs commonly in middle age and late adult life. More men are affected than women. There may be associated familial predisposition to the condition. People living in urban areas are at greater risk than rural dwellers. It is more common in smokers than nonsmokers. Chronic bronchitis requires medical assistance to prevent long term pulmonary complications.
What Are The Symptoms Of Bronchitis?
Few symptoms of both acute and chronic bronchitis are similar, but to some extent they may also differ. Below are given symptoms of acute and chronic bronchitis.
- Acute bronchitis symptoms: The first symptom of acute bronchitis is irritating and dry cough. It is often accompanied with pain in chest. There is a feeling of tightness in the chest. The person finds difficulty in breathing and experiences wheezing sound. It is a peculiar whistling sound during respiration. In the first few days the sputum is scanty, viscid and difficult to bring up. It may be streaked with blood. After few days it becomes yellow and more copious. Person may have fever, loss of appetite, weakness, lethargy etc. In vast majority of cases recovery takes place within four to ten days without the person becoming seriously ill.
- Symptoms of chronic bronchitis: In chronic bronchitis there is persistent cough for more than 3 months. There is steady increase in severity of cough and it is present all the year round. Especially in the morning the patient has productive cough together with feeling of tightness and wheezing. Patient feels better only when the bronchial secretions are cleared. The sputum may be stained with blood. It may be copious or watery. Yellow sputum indicates bacterial infection, which often supervenes from time to time in most cases.
Home Remedies And Diet For Bronchitis
Majority cases of acute bronchitis are caused by viruses. And in virus infection antibiotics won’t do much good. However if acute bronchitis is caused by bacteria, antibiotics will work. Acute bronchitis usually subsides within a week or two without any medicines. Of course there are home remedies that can help to ease the symptoms and enhance the healing. Chronic sufferers may require medical attention.
Given below are some important measures and home remedies for treating bronchitis.
- Stop smoking if you are a smoker. It is important if you are suffering from chronic bronchitis.
- Drink plenty of fluids as it will help the mucus thin and watery and ease its expulsion.
- Staying in warm moist air for sometime will help to liquefy the thick mucus in the bronchi. The simple way is to stay for a while in bathroom when you are taking warm water shower.
Certain foods and natural treatment to alleviate symptoms of bronchitis:
- Almonds: Pound few almond nuts and mix the powdered content with orange juice. Almonds are full of vitamins which help the body to regain its strength to fight against invading organism in the respiratory tract. There is an added benefit of orange as it is loaded with vitamin C.
- Bitter gourd roots: Prepare a paste of bitter gourd roots. Take one teaspoon of the paste and mix it with one teaspoon each of honey and basil leaf juice. Take the above potion every night before going to bed for one month. It is an excellent natural remedy for people suffering from chronic bronchitis. It relieves cough and strengthens the whole respiratory system.
- Basil leaves and honey: Extract juice from basil leaves. One teaspoon of this juice and one teaspoon of honey when taken two times in a day helps to alleviate hacking cough caused due to acute bronchitis.
- Orange juice: A cup of orange juice mixed with a pinch of salt and honey is an effective food for bronchitis. It is especially useful in children who are always found of orange juice. The anti inflammatory properties of honey and vitamin C content of oranges both act together.
- Onion: Onion is the pungent vegetable. The expectorant properties of onion are well established. It liquefies the thick mucus secretion and at the same time prevents its formation. Take one teaspoon of onion juice mixed with one teaspoon of honey two times in a day in acute bronchitis. It is a useful remedy for cough in morning.
- Turmeric powder: Mix half teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of warm milk. Drink it twice in a day. It is beneficial for acute as well as chronic bronchitis.