Bronchitis is a reasonably common infection on any part of the airways and lungs. It usually happens when someone has a weakened immune system, starting from an upper respiratory tract infection. Usually, the infection clears within just a few weeks, although some people may experience chronic bronchitis. In rare cases, the infection is bacterial in nature and antibiotic treatment is all that is needed. However, most of the time, it is viral, which means common bronchitis treatments do not include antibiotics.
Common Bronchitis Treatments:
Because the condition is usually viral in nature, it simply has to run its course. Hence, the most common bronchitis treatments focus mainly on alleviating the symptoms and preventing future recurrences. They include:
- Not smoking. The link between smoking and bronchitis has been fully demonstrated. The same is true for passive cigarette smoking. Hence, if someone suffers from chronic bronchitis, they will never recover unless they quit completely and avoid areas where people smoke.
- Drinking plenty of water. This helps to loosen mucus and phlegm, thereby enabling the body to cough it up. Clear, warm drinks are usually best, but milk makes things worse as it produces mucus.
- Avoiding diuretics such as coffee and alcohol. This is because they dehydrate, which makes it more difficult for the body to fight the infection and break the mucus up.
- Using a vaporizer. Doing this ensures you can breathe in some moist, warm air, thereby supporting the lungs to break up the mucus. Doing so can significantly speed up recovery. Those who do not own a vaporizer can make one by taking a hot shower and leaving the bathroom door closed, or by breathing the steam above a pan of boiling water. However, be careful to not burn the lungs either.
- Drinking licorice tea. This herbs helps in preventing bronchitis and it also speeds up recovery. Three cups of licorice tea are enough to reduce the severity and length of the infection.
- Having a flu shot. While this protects against the flu virus, it also means that it is less likely for you to develop infections of the upper respiratory tract and to lower the immune system. This, in turn, means it is less likely for someone to develop bronchitis. Having the flu shot can also help people to avoid progressing from bronchitis into pneumonia.
- Avoiding cough suppressors. It is important to cough, because this loosens up the mucus, removing it from the lungs. Suppressing a cough means the mucus will dry up, slowing down its removal.
Bronchitis is a serious condition and, if left untreated, can turn into pneumonia. Usually, antibiotics are not effective against this condition. However, other forms of treatment such as the ones described above are effective and should be engaged in. It is also important to seek medical help to make the symptoms more manageable and the patient more comfortable. In so doing, more serious complications can be avoided and recovery time can be drastically shortened.