Bronchitis is defined as a swelling of the bronchial tubes due to viruses or obstructions in the tubes that result in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Temporary swelling of the tubes is known as acute bronchitis and typically only lasts a few days, much like the common cold. On the other hand, chronic bronchitis does not go away and is a long-term respiratory condition.
Acute bronchitis is a viral infection that is often mistaken for a common cold until breathing becomes painful or the cough lingers for more than a few days. If you have a dry cough for a week or more, you are short of breath, or tired for no reason, you may have acute bronchitis.
Chronic bronchitis is the result of long-term exposure to cigarette smoke, fumes, or chemicals. The damage is often irreversible. People with chronic bronchitis need a routine plan to help keep their bronchial tubes as clear as possible.
If you have bronchitis and want to treat it naturally, you need to make sure your physician is aware of your treatment plans. You will probably need to have supplemental treatment options to help control your symptoms entirely. Your doctor will be able to assist you with creating a plan that works for you.
There are many natural and alternative health treatments for bronchitis that you can use to help improve your breathing; however, the options for treating bronchitis naturally are not all-encompassing and should be used in addition to your doctor’s recommendations. Some of the natural treatment options for bronchitis are outlined here and should help you start breathing with less pain and discomfort.
- Humidity: Humidity is moisture in the air, and when you have bronchitis, you need all the humidity you can get, something that is often lacking in the winter months. Many people mistakenly try to stifle or even stop the coughing associated with bronchitis. Coughing is necessary to help your body eliminate the infection that is in your lungs. Adding moisture to the air with a humidifier helps with bringing the mucus up so that you can get it out of your body. If you do not have a hot or cold air humidifier, you can stand in the bathroom with the shower on or keep a pot of boiling water on your stove.
- Oil Extracts: Rosemary, peppermint, and eucalyptus oils are comforting to your bronchial tubes during a bout with bronchitis. You can add a few drops of one to your humidifier or tea kettle. As steam rises, the aromatics release into the air that you breathe and soothe your lungs and airways while also helping to clear them. Additionally, eucalyptus possesses antiviral properties and may help speed the healing process when used in the humidifier.
- Hydration: You should always keep your body hydrated; however, when you are sick it is even more crucial. Drinking fluids when you have bronchitis helps to keep the mucus in your body thin so that you can cough it up. Warm liquids tend to be more productive than cold ones and also help ease the pain from coughing repeatedly.
- Slippery Elm Tea: Slippery elm is an herb that contains gelatinous substance called mucilage. You can use this herb to make hot tea that will provide sore throat relief. Slippery elm is also known for reducing inflammation. This medicinal property is beneficial in reducing the inflammation of the bronchial tubes. You can find this in powdered form in health food stores and use it to make your own medicinal tea.
- Almonds: Almonds are packed full of vitamins and nutrients. They are little powerhouses full of potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Almonds are credited with helping many health-related issues, including respiratory illness. If you are fighting a case of bronchitis, snack on a handful of these and give your body a boost.
- Salt Water: A simple solution of salt and water will go a long way in making you feel better. The warm water and salt will help thin the mucus in your lungs. It will also help soothe your throat and reduce the swelling that makes it hard to swallow and breathe. You should gargle with warm saltwater and spit it out.
- Massage Therapy: Nature provides many herbs and plants that can be used to help treat bronchitis symptoms. We’ve already mentioned that you can fill the air with essential oils by pouring them in a diffuser or humidifier. These oils can also be used in massage therapy to help with congestion. Essential oils that are beneficial in fighting bronchitis include anise seed, cardamom, eucalyptus, fennel, juniper, peppermint, angelica, and hyssop.
- Garlic: Garlic does more than ward off vampires; it also helps open your lungs and make breathing easier. Garlic contains an antimicrobial compound called allicin that is helpful in treating bronchitis and other medical ailments. In order to achieve the best results using garlic for medicinal purposes, you should use fresh cloves of garlic.
Starting a treatment plan as soon as you recognize the symptoms of bronchitis is essential to preventing pneumonia. If left untreated, bronchitis can worsen and in some cases turn into pneumonia, a much more serious condition that can even be life threatening.
In addition to treating bronchitis naturally, you should take preventative measures to reduce the recurrence of this painful condition. Diet and lifestyle changes can go a long way in helping prevent bronchitis. You should add as many of these to your daily life as possible to help prevent bronchitis.
- Stop Smoking: If you smoke, stop now. You cannot change any damage you have already done to your lungs, but you can prevent future damage. Also avoid second-hand smoke if at all possible.
- Omega-3 Oils: Foods rich in omega-3 oils have been found to reduce bronchitis attacks. It has also been shown that omega-3 oils reduce the duration of bronchitis attacks. You should increase your consumption of fish or add omega-3 oil in the form of supplements.
- Antioxidants: Antioxidants reduce the damage that free radicals do to your body. If you are exposed to toxins in your workplace environment or frequent places where cigarette smoke is present, you need to supplement your diet with foods rich in antioxidants. Vitamins A, C, and E as well as selenium are examples of antioxidants you can find in supplemental form or foods.
- Echinacea: Echinacea is an herbal supplement that has been shown to stimulate the immune system. If you are prone to colds and viral infections, you should add echinacea to your daily routine to help support your immune system.
- Dairy Products: If you are prone to bronchitis, you should limit your intake of dairy products. Milk, butter, and other dairy products are known to increase the production of mucus.
Incorporate these tips into your daily life and reduce the duration and recurrence of bronchitis. You should also add exercise and rest to a healthy lifestyle to help prevent bronchitis and improve your overall health.
A Fish Out of Water
Bronchitis sufferers have described a bronchitis attack like being a fish out of water. You do not have to suffer endlessly: the tips outlined here and your doctor’s advice can help you breathe more easily and with less discomfort. Just remember: always talk to your doctor before adding any treatment options to your current plan.
©2012 Off the Grid News