Getting rid of bronchitis
Bronchitis is swelling of airways mostly due to a virus. Rarely, bacteria or fungi can also be the reason. Swelling in bronchial tubes may restrict air to and from your lungs. It typically causes a bad cough, chest discomfort, and fatigue. You may need to consult a doctor to distinguish bronchitis from pneumonia. Below are a few ways to reduce the symptoms of bronchitis naturally.
Simple remedies to manage bronchitis at home are:
- Hydration: Liquids loosen the mucus and secretions in the throat. Make sure you drink a lot of warm water, broths, or soups. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Green tea steeped in ginger and lemongrass may work wonders.
- Honey has many medicinal properties. Soothing a sore throat is one of them. The honey also has antibacterial properties, which may help with your infection. Sipping honey diluted in half a glass of water soothes many cases of bronchitis. Do not give honey to kids younger than 1 year.
- Spicy foods containing capsaicin like chili peppers can significantly reduce congestion and coughing and relieve the symptoms of bronchitis. You can drink pepper tea or sprinkle your chicken soup with pepper powder.
- Gargling with salt water may provide a double dose of relief by soothing the inflammation in the throat and by cutting through some of the mucus that may be coating and irritating the sensitive throat membranes. Take one teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Gargle with this solution as often as needed but be sure to spit the salty water out after gargling.
- Use a warm- or cool-mist humidifier to add moisture to the air. The added humidity will soothe the sore throat and help you to breathe better.
- Standing in a steamy shower with the bathroom door closed, or inhale the warm, moist air/vapor by keeping a pan of water at a slow boil on the stove or using a tea kettle can also help loosen and bring up phlegm. If you add a few drops of peppermint or eucalyptus oil to the water, it can be quite soothing.
Common kitchen remedies may be tried but they have no proven benefits:
- Onions are expectorants and help the flow of mucus. Gather some fresh onions (and garlic for added power) and cut them into thin slices. Steam them for some time and place them in an old (but clean) sock. You have essentially created a natural poultice. Place this over your chest and back to loosen the phlegm.
- Mustard seed expectorant: The high content of sulfur compounds in the mustard help thin the mucus. Grind one teaspoon mustard seeds in a coffee grinder and soak in one cup warm water for 15 minutes and take a teaspoonful thrice a day.
- Thyme contains a chemical compound called thymol. It has distinct antiseptic, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties that are useful in beating back various types of infections, including bronchitis. As a powerful expectorant, this herb helps rid the body of mucus, strengthens the lungs to fight off infection, and acts as a shield against bacteria. One can use dried thyme as a seasoning or make a tea by adding one-fourth to half teaspoon thyme to one cup boiling water (it's a very strong herb, so you don't need much). Steep for 5 minutes and sweeten with honey. If you have thyme oil on hand, you can use that instead. Dilute it (two parts olive or corn oil to one-part thyme oil) and rub it on your chest to cure congestion.
- Marshmallow root is an herbal supplement thought to soothe irritated mucus membranes located in the throat and mouth. The roots and leaves of marshmallows contain a thick substance called mucilage. When mixed with water, mucilage forms a gel-like texture that can coat the throat like honey.
The worst of acute bronchitis typically lasts anywhere from 3 to 10 days. However, in many (unlucky) cases, it may drag on for 3 weeks. You may be dealing with the remnants of those symptoms for 1 to 2 months because your body tries to recover. In other words, ease back into your normal exercise routine and try to keep stress under control to give your system its best chance to return to normal sooner rather than later. Take Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, or Aspirin to reduce high temperatures (fever) and ease any aches, pains, and headaches. (Children under 16 years should not take Aspirin.) If you smoke, trying to stop for good.
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