Bronchitis is a viral disease characterized by prolonged and violent coughing. Acute bronchitis can last for several weeks on a one-off basis, while chronic bronchitis is a long-term condition that lasts for at least several months or more. Of all the people who visit the doctor for bronchitis every year, most appear to suffer from acute bronchitis. This can be treated at home and usually goes away on its own if you treat it properly.
Method 1 of 3: Treating Bronchitis at Home
Step 1. Keep your body hydrated
If you continue to drink enough during your illness, it will help your body to continue to function properly. Drink 250 ml of fluid every one to two hours.
- Drinking plenty of fluids helps loosen mucus and keeps your body functioning normally.
- If your doctor only allows you to drink a certain amount of fluids because of other medical problems, follow his or her instructions carefully.
- Much of the fluid you drink should be water or other low-calorie drinks. This will prevent you from consuming too many calories.
- Fruit juice, clear broth, and warm water with lemon and honey are other good options. A warm drink also soothes your throat that has started to hurt due to the many coughs.
- Do not drink drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol. These drinks have a diuretic effect and ensure that you become dehydrated.
Step 2. Get enough sleep
Try to sleep as much as possible. Try to sleep at least eight hours a night. If your illness prevents you from sleeping through the night, at least rest by lying down with your head down or up on a pile of pillows.
Sleep is an important part of maintaining a strong immune system. If you don't get enough sleep, your body won't be able to fight the virus
Step 3. Exercise and don't move too much when you have bronchitis
Simple tasks are usually fine, but don't do anything that requires an average to above average effort. If you exert yourself too much, you can suffer from coughing attacks. In addition, it also affects your immune system.
Step 4. Use a humidifier
Turn on the humidifier in the evening and sleep while it's on. Breathing warm, moist air loosens mucus in the airways, making it easier to breathe and less likely to cough.
- Clean the humidifier according to the manufacturer's instructions. If you don't clean the humidifier, bacteria and mold can grow in the water tank and become airborne. Airborne bacteria and fungi can make your bronchitis worse.
- You can also sit in the bathroom with the door closed while running hot water from the shower for half an hour. The steam produced by the water has the same effect as the vapor coming out of the humidifier.
Step 5. Avoid irritants
Dirty and cold air can make the condition worse. You probably can't avoid all irritants, but there are some you can easily avoid.
- Stop smoking and do not go near other people who smoke. Smoke strongly irritates your lungs, and smokers are most at risk for developing chronic bronchitis.
- Wear a breathing mask if you think you could be exposed to paint, household cleaners, perfume, or other strong odors.
- Wear a face mask outdoors. Cold air can constrict your airways, making you cough more violently and making it difficult for you to breathe. If you wear a breathing mask outdoors, the air will be warmed up before it enters your airways.
Step 6. Only take cough medicines when you really need them
Only use an over-the-counter cough syrup if your cough is so bad that it interferes with your daily activities. Under normal circumstances, you want to cough up as much mucus as possible to prevent too much mucus from remaining in your lungs and causing more infections. For this reason, you should not regularly take cough syrup and other cough suppressants when you have bronchitis.
- A cough syrup is usually a cough suppressant. Such a remedy suppresses or reduces your cough, so that you cough less and produce less mucus.
- If your cough makes you unable to sleep or makes you cough so much that it becomes painful, you can alternate a cough suppressant with other medications to temporarily relieve the cough.
- It is recommended that you seek advice from your doctor before starting to take cough syrup. However, you can simply get these remedies in the store without a prescription.
Step 7. Use an expectorant
An over-the-counter expectorant will make you cough up more mucus. Patients with bronchitis have a higher risk of developing pneumonia or other serious infections because of the excessive amount of mucus produced. It is therefore recommended to use an expectorant to get rid of the large amount of mucus, especially if the coughing does not help to loosen the mucus.
Step 8. Take painkillers
You can regularly take a dose of aspirin or paracetamol if the pain in your chest and other parts of your body becomes unbearable. Note that painkillers will not cure your bronchitis, but only suppress the pain. When you have the pain under control, it may be easier to cough up the mucus.
Do not take aspirin or paracetamol if you are already taking a cough medicine that has an analgesic effect or that should not be taken at the same time as painkillers. Many cough medicines contain a pain reliever in addition to expectorant and cough suppressant ingredients
Step 9. Research herbal remedies
Studies on herbal remedies show conflicting results. So talk to your doctor before taking them. There is also no concrete evidence that herbal remedies work effectively to treat acute bronchitis. However, some exploratory studies show that the Cape geranium (Pelargonium sidoides) has a positive effect. A study shows that people recover faster when they take this herbal remedy instead of a placebo.
A common cold can lead to bronchitis, so taking herbal cold remedies can also help prevent bronchitis. Some of the herbal remedies that have been studied and shown promising results include echinacea (300 mg three times a day), garlic and ginseng (400 mg a day)
Method 2 of 3: Get professional medical treatment
Step 1. Know when to see a doctor
If you have had bronchitis for more than a week and you see no improvement, make an appointment with your doctor. Also see your doctor if your symptoms get worse.
- Make an appointment with your doctor if your cough persists for more than a month.
- Call your doctor as soon as possible if you start coughing up blood, have trouble breathing, develop a fever, or feel particularly weak or ill. Also make an appointment if your feet start to swell.
- Call your doctor if you start coughing up a liquid with a bad taste. This is usually caused by stomach acid coming up from the stomach and trickling into the lungs while you sleep. Your doctor will prescribe an antacid to treat this particular type of bronchitis.
Step 2. Talk to your doctor about antibiotics
A doctor may prescribe an antibiotic if he or she suspects an infection is developing. In any case, there is no concrete evidence that antibiotics help to effectively treat acute bronchitis.
- Under normal circumstances, a doctor will not prescribe antibiotics. Bronchitis is caused by a virus and antibiotics only fight bacterial infections.
- If you start coughing up more mucus or if that mucus gets thicker, you may have a bacterial infection. Your doctor will usually prescribe an antibiotic in this case. Such a course of antibiotics usually lasts between five and ten days.
Step 3. Learn about prescription bronchodilators
These drugs are typically used to treat asthma. Your doctor may prescribe this if your bronchitis is making it difficult to breathe.
You are usually prescribed a bronchodilator in the form of an inhaler. The medicine is injected by the device directly into your bronchi, where it clears the airways and clears the mucus
Step 4. Think about pulmonary rehabilitation
If you suffer from chronic bronchitis, you may need long-term therapy to strengthen your weakened lungs. Pulmonary rehabilitation is a special treatment program of breathing exercises. A respiratory therapist will then work one-on-one with you on an exercise program that will help you slowly rebuild the capacity of your lungs so that you can breathe more easily.
Method 3 of 3: Understanding Bronchitis
Step 1. Understand what bronchitis is
People of all ages and genders can get bronchitis. The condition is characterized by inflammation of the trachea, bronchi, and bronchioles, which is caused by an infection or chemical irritant. It has a bacterial, viral or chemical cause.
This article covers acute bronchitis, which is more common than chronic bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis is a separate medical condition, which usually requires professional medical treatment. Acute bronchitis is a common condition that most people have experienced at some point. In almost all cases of acute bronchitis, the disease will go away on its own over time after proper home treatment and plenty of rest
Step 2. Understand how bronchitis is treated
This condition goes away on its own and does not require antibiotic treatment, but you may still have a cough for several weeks after healing. Treatment for acute bronchitis focuses on relieving symptoms and getting enough sleep and rest so your body can heal itself.
- There is no research that can definitively diagnose bronchitis. Doctors usually diagnose bronchitis based on the symptoms the patient has.
- Treatment and recovery usually take place completely at home, unless there are further infections or complications.
Step 3. Know the symptoms of bronchitis
People who suffer from acute bronchitis often report that they had a cough shortly before. This happens without the presence of other conditions, such as asthma, COPD, pneumonia or the common cold.
- Bronchitis is usually accompanied by a dry cough that does not release mucus. When the disease progresses, people often cough up mucus. The constant heavy coughing can cause pain in the throat and lungs.
- In addition to a red throat (infected head of the esophagus), most people also have symptoms such as difficulty breathing (dyspnea), wheezing when inhaling or exhaling, fever higher than 38.5°C and fatigue.
Step 4. Know the risk factors for bronchitis
In addition to common symptoms, there are many risk factors that can increase the likelihood of bronchitis. These include airborne pollutants, smoking or secondhand smoke, environmental changes, chronic sinusitis, having a tracheotomy, bronchopulmonary allergies, HIV infection, alcoholism, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD). Babies and the elderly belong to the risk groups for bronchitis.
In healthy people, bronchitis will go away on its own. Your body will then recover on its own without the need for any specific treatment. Most medical guidelines also do not recommend antibiotics. If you have multiple symptoms that last for more than a month and you have questions or concerns, consider seeing your doctor for an assessment and professional treatment
- Even mild bronchitis can be a cause for concern in older people. This is especially true if they already have another condition, such as the flu, COPD, or congestive heart failure.
- When a child suffers from acute bronchitis, it is important to also take other respiratory diseases into account. If a child's bronchitis returns, this may indicate an underlying condition or an abnormality of the airways. It should also be examined whether there is a malfunctioning immune system or chronic asthma. In very young children, acute bronchitis (caused by the respiratory syncytial virus) can be fatal. It's a good idea to seek advice from your doctor if you suspect your child has bronchitis.