Each human body organ is important, and the respiratory tract is no different. The respiratory system is responsible for exchanging gases and providing oxygen, the vital component for the survival of human beings. The method comprises bronchi and bronchioles, the branches that carry gases to and from the lungs.
Certain conditions can cause irritation and inflammation of the bronchi resulting in bronchitis. Here, we provide detailed information about bronchitis prevention and methods to control it.
In this Article
- What is Bronchitis
- Types of Bronchitis
- Signs and Symptoms of Bronchitis
- What are the Main Causes of Bronchitis
- Is Bronchitis Contagious
- Bronchitis Treatment
- Home Remedies for Bronchitis
- Bronchitis Prevention
What is Bronchitis
Bronchitis refers to the inflammation of the bronchial tubes, the tubes responsible for moving air to and fro from the lungs. The bronchi are the main airways in your lungs, which branch off on either side of your windpipe (trachea).
They lead to smaller and smaller airways inside your lungs, known as bronchioles. The bronchial tubes get swollen, and the inflammation produces thick mucus or phlegm. The color of the mucus varies from yellow to gray.
Types of Bronchitis
Depending upon the onset of bronchitis, it can be classified as acute or chronic.
There is a sudden onset of symptoms that fades away with time. It is a common form of bronchitis and lasts for a few weeks only. The condition is temporary and does not cause any permanent breathing issues.
The symptoms are persistent with recurrent symptoms. It requires immediate medical attention as there are persistent irritation and inflammation of the bronchial tract. It is also seen in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Bronchitis
- Congestion of chest
- A cough with mucus
- Wheezing sound while breathing
- Shortness of breath
Acute bronchitis has additional symptoms such as low temperature (fever), body aches and pain, running nose, and sore throat. The symptoms, especially cough, may usually take time to fade as the bronchial tubes need to heal.
If the cough is persistent with inflammation and irritated bronchioles, your doctor may advise additional tests.
On the contrary, the symptoms of chronic bronchitis will be persistent for 3 months with recurrent attacks.
What are the Main Causes of Bronchitis
Viruses are the most common culprit for acute bronchitis. The microbes causing the common cold and flu are also responsible for bronchitis.
The body has to fight against microbes, which increases the production of mucus and the bronchioles swell up. The patients find it difficult to breathe due to the congestion of the bronchioles.
Chemicals, dust, and air pollution are responsible for chronic bronchitis
Smoking and passive smoking for long durations
People at risk of developing bronchitis include smokers, people with compromised immunity (elderly and infants), exposure to irritants (fumes, harmful gases, and chemicals), gastric reflux, etc.
Bronchitis does not have any complications, but it can lead to pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in some instances.
Is Bronchitis Contagious?
It will be challenging to differentiate between bronchitis and flu; if the cough is persistent, then it is likely that you are suffering from bronchitis. Bronchitis is either acute or chronic.
Chronic bronchitis cannot be contagious as it is caused by smoking and exposure to harmful chemicals. The airways remain inflamed for a long duration and require immediate medical attention. Else, the condition may worsen to COPD. Chronic bronchitis lasts for at least 3 months.
A virus or bacteria causes acute bronchitis; it is contagious. The symptoms can last for 1 to 3 weeks. Better to take adequate measures to prevent the spread of infection, like coughing and sneezing cover your mouth to prevent the spread of the infected droplets.
Bronchitis, as such, does not require any treatment, and the symptoms will fade off. Acute bronchitis caused by bacteria can be improved with antibiotics, whereas bronchitis due to viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics.
Your doctor may prescribe cough medicines, bronchodilators, and anti-allergic to control bronchitis symptoms and ease breathing.
Home Remedies for Bronchitis
Home remedies are one of the best and safest options for bronchitis prevention. Bronchitis is one such disease that has symptoms similar to a cold.
Home ingredients that possess anti-inflammatory and healing properties can be an excellent remedy for bronchitis. Here are a few home remedies for the treatment of bronchitis
It is a traditional medicine that has numerous health benefits. As the name suggests, Bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchioles, and Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties.
How to use
Eat raw ginger as it is or added to the foods, use ginger tea, or chew the dried crystallized ginger. Ginger food supplements are also available in the market.
ALSO READ: How to Boost Immunity Fast with Ginger
It possesses antibacterial and antiviral properties. It inhibits the growth of the bronchitis virus and promotes the healing process. Garlic is a natural remedy for bronchitis.
How to use
One or two cloves of garlic can be chewed in the morning, but few people do not like its taste. Garlic is also available in capsule form.
Turmeric is the best option for bronchitis prevention. This household ingredient has an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant property that enhances healing in bronchitis.
How to use:
Mix half spoon of turmeric powder with one teaspoon of honey and make a smooth paste. Consume the paste twice or thrice daily. A pinch of turmeric can also be added to the tea.
ALSO READ: 9 Reasons Everyone Should Drink Turmeric
Take a hot water bath or shower. The warmth breaks the mucus and helps in easy expulsion. Take a deep breath to allow hot air to reach your lungs.
How to use
Take hot water in a bowl and cover your face with a towel. Inhale the steam as it helps in keeping mucus. The addition of Vicks and volatile oils eases congestion.
Be attentive while taking a hot water bath, as you can end up hurting your airways with steam.
Relaxing in a hot water bath helps in relaxing muscles and relieves aches and pains
5. Salt Water
Saltwater is the best remedy for bronchitis prevention. The chest congestion in bronchitis is due to the excess production of mucus due to inflammation. Saltwater is an excellent home remedy for relieving symptoms of bronchitis.
The Sore throat associated with bronchitis can be treated by gargling with salt water.
How to use
Add one teaspoon of salt n a glass of warm water and gargle it as often as possible. It is preferable to gargle on an empty stomach. Wash your mouth with plain water.
6. Hydration and Sleep
In addition to medications and nutrients, hydration and sleep are equally important. Drink lots of water to keep you hydrated and expel toxins from the body.
A hydrated body has better efficiency in fighting infections. In people suffering from bronchitis (both chronic and acute), coughing causes excessive sleep disturbance. Try to take plenty of sleep as rest allows your body to repair and fight back.
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7. Healthy Lifestyle
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, doing regular exercise, and improving immunity are the main elements to maintain health and vitality.
It helps in preventing diseases and combat infections. Besides, immune stimulants help in easy recovery.
Bronchitis is a breathing condition caused by various factors, including smoking, environmental pollution, and occupational exposure. There are many ways to prevent it from developing in the first place. Here are some tips to help you avoid bronchitis.
1. Quit Smoking
Smoking is the most significant cause of CBT, and quitting will significantly reduce your risk of developing the condition.
2. Drink plenty of fluids
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of bronchitis, so drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. This includes not just water but also tea, orange juice, and soup.
3. Avoid Air pollution
Air pollution can cause inflammation in the airways, leading to CBT. Try to stay as far away from traffic and busy areas as possible, and avoid using candles and other flammable materials around the home.
4. Stay Active
According to the American Lung Association, physically active people have a 50% lower risk of developing CBT than those who are inactive. Getting regular exercise helps you stay healthy overall, but it also helps reduce your risk of developing CBT.
5. Eat a healthy diet
Although there is no single “right” diet for preventing CBT, a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables can help reduce your risk of developing the condition. In addition, make sure to consume enough water to hydrate your body properly.
6. Stay Away from Allergens
Some people are susceptible to specific environmental allergens, such as pollen or dust mites, leading to Bronchitis symptoms. If you’re experiencing symptoms related to an environmental allergy, see your doctor for more advice on managing them.
7. Get vaccinated
Another way to reduce your risk of developing bronchitis is by getting vaccinated against the virus that causes it. This can help you build up a resistance against the infection, which may protect you in the future should you experience an outbreak.
Do’s and Don’t
- Vaccination against influenza can help in preventing acute bronchitis. Influenza is one of the common viruses responsible for causing flu and bronchitis. Hence vaccination is a vital tool to protect from bronchitis.
- Increase the frequency of washing hands; this reduces the risk of viral infection.
- Use alcohol-based sanitizers to be used to wash your hands.
- Wear a surgical mask to protect from harmful chemicals, gases, dust, and chemicals. Exposure to harmful elements can worsen the symptoms.
- Use a humidifier to keep the airways moist and loosens the mucus.
- Include food supplements that improve immunity
- Include physical activity, and exercise at least 3 times per week
- Do not smoke; even passive smoking is not good in people with chronic bronchitis. Regular smoking puts you at risk of developing bronchitis.
- Do not contact people suffering from cold.
- Do not stop the medications even if the symptoms seem to have subsided; complete the prescription as advised.
- An inhaler is a must required. Make sure you carry an inhaler with you always.
Bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchial tubes that causes swelling and the production of thick mucus. It can be chronic or acute bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis is due to pollutants, smoking, or harmful chemicals, whereas acute bronchitis can be a viral or bacterial infection.
Acute bronchitis can be contagious; hence measures should be taken to prevent infection. Ginger, garlic, turmeric, steam, and a healthy lifestyle are pretty helpful in bronchitis prevention and treating bronchitis.
Take supplements to improve immunity, wash your hands, wear a surgical mask, use alcohol-based sanitizers and quit smoking to control bronchitis.