Bronchitis is a viral disease characterized by prolonged excessive coughing. Acute bronchitis is a one-time disorder that can last for weeks while chronic bronchitis is a recurring disorder that can last for months. Even though consultations for bronchitis exceed 10 million per month in the United States, most cases turn out to be acute bronchitis which can be treated at home and goes away on its own with proper care.
Method 1 of 3: Treat bronchitis at home
Step 1. Stay well hydrated
Staying hydrated while you are sick will help your body to function properly. You should drink about 250ml of fluid every hour or two.
- Proper hydration also helps to soften mucus and preserve body functions.
- If your doctor has told you to restrict your fluid intake for medical reasons, you should follow their instructions for hydration.
- Most of the liquids you ingest should be water or low calorie drinks to prevent you from ingesting too many calories.
- Fruit juices, clear broths, and hot lemon water are also great options. Hot drinks can also help relieve irritation in your throat from excessive coughing.
- Do not consume drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol. These drinks are diuretics that dehydrate your body.
Step 2. Get as much rest as possible
Do whatever you can to get as much sleep as possible. You should try to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night, but if your illness prevents you from sleeping at night, you should at least rest by lying down with your head flat or up.
Sleep is a vital part of keeping the immune system functioning properly. If you don't get enough rest, your body won't be able to defend itself against the virus
Step 3. Limit the amount of sports activity you do while you have bronchitis
You can go about your daily activities, but you should avoid moderate or strenuous exercise. Such a high level of activity can trigger a cough and can strain your immune system.
Step 4. Use a humidifier
Turn on the humidifier at night and sleep while it is on. By breathing in warm, humid air, you can soften the mucus that builds up in your airways, which will help you breathe and reduce the severity of your cough.
- Clean your humidifier following the manufacturer's instructions. If you haven't cleaned your humidifier yet, bacteria and fungi can grow in the water it contains and spread into the air. Bacteria and fungi could cause complications from your bronchitis.
- You can also sit in the bathroom with the hot water running in the shower for 30 minutes. The steam produced by the water will have the same effect as the steam produced by the humidifier.
Step 5. Avoid irritants
Pollution and cold air can make your bronchitis worse. While you won't be able to eliminate your exposure to pollutants, some of them are easy to avoid.
- Stop smoking and don't breathe second-hand smoke. Cigarette smoke is one of the substances that irritates the lungs the most, and smokers are the most vulnerable to chronic bronchitis.
- Wear a mask when you know you are going to be exposed to paint, household cleaners, or other strong or odorous fumes.
- Wear a mask when you are outside. Cold air can cause your airways to constrict, making your cough worse and preventing you from breathing properly. A face mask will help warm the air before it reaches your airways.
Step 6. Take cough medicine only when needed
Non-prescription cough syrup should only be used when the cough is preventing you from going about your daily activities. In normal situations, you want the cough to become as productive as possible to prevent mucus from staying in your lungs and making your infection worse. For this reason, cough syrups and similar medicines should not be used continuously throughout your illness.
- Cough syrups are usually inhibitors. They inhibit or restrict coughing, which allows your cough to produce less mucus.
- If you cannot sleep at night because of your cough, which even becomes painful, you can alternate your syrup with another medicine to relieve the cough temporarily.
- It is recommended that you consult a doctor before taking cough syrup, but you can still get it without a prescription.
Step 7. Use an expectorant
An over-the-counter expectorant can help you clear more mucus. The risk of developing pneumonia or other infections is greater in patients with bronchitis because of the excessive amount of mucus that is produced. The use of an expectorant is recommended to release the mucus, especially in the case of non-productive cough.
Step 8. Take a pain reliever
Regular doses of aspirin or paracetamol can help if the pain in the chest or other parts of the body becomes unbearable. Be aware that pain relievers will not help you cure bronchitis, but they will help relieve the pain. Once the pain is under control, it might be easier to have a productive cough.
Do not take aspirin or paracetamol if you are taking other cough medicines that contain pain relievers or medicines that might conflict with pain relievers. Many cough medicines contain pain relievers in addition to expectorants and cough suppressants
Step 9. Research herbal remedies
There is conflicting research on herbal remedies. Be sure to discuss this with your doctor before taking it. There is no concrete evidence that herbal remedies are effective in treating acute bronchitis. However, preliminary studies have shown that patients recover faster by taking this remedy rather than a placebo.
A cold can also lead to bronchitis, which is why you can take herbal remedies that also help prevent bronchitis. Some herbal remedies have been studied and have shown promising results, for example echinacea (300 mg 3 times a day), garlic and ginseng (400 mg per day)
Method 2 of 3: Get professional medical treatment
Step 1. Know when to see your doctor
If the symptoms of bronchitis have lasted for more than a week without any signs of improvement, you should make an appointment with your doctor. In addition, if your symptoms gradually worsen, you should also see your doctor.
- If the cough persists for more than a month, make an appointment with your doctor.
- See your doctor as soon as possible if you start to cough up blood, have trouble breathing, have a fever, or feel weak or sick. You should also make an appointment with your doctor if your feet start to swell.
- Contact your doctor if you cough up any liquid that tastes bad. This is often the result of stomach acid entering your lungs at night while you are sleeping. A doctor may prescribe an antacid medication to treat this type of bronchitis.
Step 2. Discuss the need for antibiotics with your doctor
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if they suspect you have an infection. Even if this is the case, there is no concrete evidence of the effectiveness of antibiotics in curing acute bronchitis.
- Under normal circumstances, a doctor will not prescribe antibiotics for you. Bronchitis is caused by a virus, and antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections.
- If you start coughing up more mucus or if that mucus begins to thicken, you could be suffering from a bacterial infection. This is usually when the doctor prescribes antibiotics. This antibiotic treatment generally lasts between 5 and 10 days.
Step 3. Ask questions about bronchodilators
These drugs are generally used to treat asthma. They might be prescribed in the case of bronchitis that causes difficulty in breathing.
A bronchodilator usually comes in the form of an inhaler. This medicine is sprayed directly into the bronchial tubes to open them and get rid of mucus
Step 4. Ask questions about respiratory rehabilitation
If you have chronic bronchitis, you may need long-term therapy to strengthen your weakened lungs. Respiratory rehabilitation is a special program of breathing exercises. A specialized therapist will work with you in private sessions and will set up a tailor-made program to gradually increase your lung capacity while helping you breathe more easily.
Method 3 of 3: Understanding Bronchitis
Step 1. Understand Bronchitis
This disorder affects people of all ages, both men and women. Bronchitis is characterized by inflammation of the trachea, bronchi, and bronchioles due to infection or an irritating chemical. It can therefore be of bacterial, viral or chemical origin.
This article is only interested in acute bronchitis, which is the most common, because chronic bronchitis is a separate medical condition that usually requires professional medical treatment. Acute bronchitis is a very common disease, in fact most people have had it at least once in their life. Most cases of acute bronchitis can be treated at home with proper care, rest and time
Step 2. Understand how bronchitis treatment works
This disease goes away on its own and does not require antibiotic treatment, but the cough could continue for weeks after the disease is gone. Treatment for acute bronchitis focuses on symptom relief and rest to allow the body to take care of itself and heal itself.
- There is no sure test to identify bronchitis. Doctors will usually make a diagnosis based on your symptoms.
- Treatment and cure for acute bronchitis usually takes place at home unless infection and complications occur.
Step 3. Know the symptoms of bronchitis
People with acute bronchitis will usually describe a recent onset of cough. This symptom occurs in the absence of other underlying disorders such as asthma, COPD, pneumonia, or a simple cold.
- The typical bronchitis cough is usually dry and non-productive. It can progress and become productive as bronchitis develops. Pain in the throat and lungs may occur due to the constant and intense cough produced to relieve the irritation.
- In addition to a sore throat (infection of the pharynx), most people have additional symptoms: difficulty breathing, wheezing during inhaling or exhaling, fever that exceeds 38.4 degrees C, and tired.
Step 4. Know the risk factors for bronchitis
In addition to the common symptoms, there are many risk factors involved in the causes of bronchitis development, for example the age of the individual (higher in young children and the elderly), air pollutants, active or passive smoking, environmental changes, chronic sinusitis, tracheostomy, bronchopulmonary allergy, seropositivity, alcoholism and gastroesophageal reflux disease.
In healthy individuals, bronchitis is a disease that the body can treat on its own without the need for special treatment. In fact, most medical recommendations do not recommend the use of antibiotics. If you have symptoms that persist for more than a month and have any questions or concerns, consider seeing your doctor for a check-up and treatment
- Even illnesses of little concern can cause concern in the elderly. This becomes even more true if that person already has another illness, such as the flu, COPD, or heart failure.
- When children get acute bronchitis, it is important to consider other breathing problems that might also be involved. If the child has recurrent bronchitis, it could be a symptom of an underlying disease or airway defect. In addition, immune deficiencies and chronic asthma should be evaluated by a physician and taken into account. In young children, acute viral bronchitis (caused by respiratory syncytial virus) can be a fatal disease. It would be best if you see your doctor if you suspect your child has bronchitis.