A breath of fresh air, clear of all impurities, is what a man needs for his well being. Where can we get this breath of fresh air today? Along with the air we take in, come loads of viruses, pollutants and other impurities of the surroundings which harm our system slowly and a stage comes when it damages our lungs so much that we are left with days of agony and discomfort. Thus we become aware of the word “Bronchitis”. Let us tell you what this so commonly heard and used term actually means.
Bronchitis is an acute inflammation of the air passages within the lungs. It occurs when the trachea (windpipe) and the large and small bronchi (airways) within the lungs become inflamed because of infection or irritation from certain causes.
Causes of Bronchitis
Bronchitis occurs most often during the cold and wet seasons and is usually coupled with an upper respiratory infection.
- Several viruses cause bronchitis, including influenza A and B, commonly referred to as “the flu.”
- A number of bacteria are also known to cause bronchitis, such as Mycoplasma pneumonia, which causes so-called “walking pneumonia.”
- Bronchitis also occurs when a person inhales irritating fumes or dust, Chemical solvents and smoke, including tobacco smoke.
- Elderly people, people with weakened immune system, smokers and anyone who is repeatedly exposed to irritant fumes or lung irritants are more susceptible to bronchitis.
- If the cause of the bronchitis is viral or bacterial, it can be contagious. If the cause of the bronchitis is due to smoking, air pollution, or other inhaled irritants, it is not contagious.
Symptoms of Bronchitis
- Bronchitis describes a group of symptoms (including airway inflammation, over-production of phlegm, cough).
- Acute bronchitis most commonly occurs after an upper respiratory infection such as the common cold or a sinus infection. The affected persons have symptoms such as fever with chills, muscle aches, nasal congestion, and sore throat.
- The mucous lining of the airways becomes irritated and swollen causing the cells to leak fluid in response to the inflammation.
- Coughing is a reflex symptom which comes up to clear the secretions from the lungs.
- The cough lasts for more than 2 weeks. Continued forceful coughing make the chest and abdominal muscles sore. Coughing can be severe enough at times to injure the chest wall or even cause a person to faint.
- Wheezing occurs because of the muscular tightness and inflammation of the airway leaving the affected individual short of breath.
- Asthmatic bronchitis occurs when asthma and bronchitis coexist. Asthma is an inflammatory airway condition that leads to tightening of the muscles around the airways and swelling, both of which cause the airways to narrow. In combination with the inflammation of the inner lining of the airways and mucus production it leads to severe wheezing and shortness of breath.
- Infants usually get bronchiolitis, which involves the smaller airways and causes symptoms similar to asthma.
Treatments for bronchitis in Homeopathy
- Homeopathy gives fantastic results in all stages and types of Bronchitis. These are the patients who are frequently seen by a homeopath in his or her daily practice.
- In cases of Acute Bronchitis the duration of illness is reduced to a great extent and the need for resorting to antibiotics is eliminated. Toxicity to the patient is much less with homeopathic treatment.
- In Chronic Bronchitis, homeopathy brings about lasting relief to the patient by boosting his immune system to fight against the triggering allergens and controls the underlying tendencies to catch the cold easily.
- We have amazing medicines like Antim tart and Ipecac to immediately give relief from the productive coughing episodes.
- Deep acting intercurrent medicines like Tuberculinum and Silicea help in lowering the tendencies to catch the infection repeatedly and give an immunity boost to the patient.
- Since these medicines are safe and have no side effects they are suited to patients of all age groups without the fear of any toxicity.
- Homeopathic treatment clears up the infection, relieves inflammation of the air passages, the discomfort, pain and pressure caused by coughing, opens the airways in your lungs and help in loosening the bronchial secretions making elimination of mucus easier thus enabling every patient to breathe better and naturally.
Few tips for Self Care
- Stop smoking and also avoid taking in passive smoke.
- Avoid triggers of attack such as dust, allergens, etc.
- Wash your hands more often.
- Get lots of rest so your body has enough energy to fight the infection.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Try coughing up the mucus.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Use a humidifier if required in your room.
- ½ tsp. of Turmeric powder in ½ cup of warm milk is an effective home remedy for Bronchitis.
- 1 tsp. of raw onion juice in the morning has beneficial expectorant properties, it liquefies the mucus and prevents its further formation.
- Include garlic in your diet, it is a natural antibiotic.
- Vitamin C intake like fresh orange juice or fresh lemonade is very helpful in preventing and hastening cure of respiratory infections.
- Fresh air and outdoor exercises are essential for Bronchitis patients.
Bronchitis Medical Treatment
Treatment of bronchitis can differ depending on the suspected cause.
- Medications to help suppress the cough or loosen and clear secretions may be helpful. If the patient has severe coughing spells they cannot control, see the doctor for prescription strength cough suppressants. In some cases only these stronger cough suppressants can stop a vicious cycle of coughing leading to more irritation of the bronchial tubes, which in turn causes more coughing.
- Bronchodilator inhalers will help open airways and decrease wheezing.
- Though antibiotics play a limited role in treating bronchitis, they become necessary in some situations.
- In particular, if the doctor suspects a bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed.
- People with chronic lung problems also usually are treated with antibiotics.
- In rare cases, the patient may be hospitalized if they experience breathing difficulty that doesn’t respond to treatment. This usually occurs because of a complication of bronchitis, not bronchitis itself.
- Stop smoking.
- The dangers of secondhand smoke are well documented. Children should never be exposed to secondhand smoke inside the home.
- Avoid exposure to irritants. Proper protection in the workplace is vital to preventing exposure.
- Avoiding long exposure to air pollution from heavy traffic may help prevent bronchitis.
Nearly all cases of acute bronchitis clear up completely over time.
- In the case of bronchitis caused by exposure to respiratory irritants, all the person may need to do is keep away from the cause of irritation.
- Smoking cessation is recommended to prevent development of chronic bronchitis or other chronic lung disease such as emphysema. Chronic bronchitis, as its name suggests, can cause symptoms for prolonged periods and lead to other debilitating lung conditions.