Bronchitis is a pulmonary disease caused by the onset of inflammation in the bronchial tubes, which are the air passages into the lungs. In bronchitis these air passages become inflamed and swollen, a thick mucus is generally produced, and is often accompanied by a wheezing cough. Symptoms may also include a difficulty in breathing, the need to constantly cough out mucus, and a mild to moderate fever. There are two forms of bronchitis, acute and chronic, which are somewhat similar and with similar causes, but run their course in different ways.
Acute bronchitis is characterized by a slight fever that may last for a few days to weeks, and is often accompanied by a cough that may persist for several weeks. Acute bronchitis often occurs after a cold or the flu, as the result of bacterial infection, or from constant irritation of the bronchi by polluted air or chemical fumes in the environment. It may initially affect your nose, sinuses, and throat and then spread to the lungs. For acute bronchitis, symptoms usually resolve within 7 to 10 days, however, a dry, hacking cough can linger for several weeks.
To aid the body in healing, get plenty of rest, good nutrition, and drink at least 8-12 cups of water daily. Using a humidifier may also be helpful. Avoid exposure to tobacco smoke and other air pollutants. Limit consumption of milk, sugar, and white flour. Some vitamins and herbs are considered helpful in treating, or preventing, acute bronchitis. Herbs, and other healing foods, which may be beneficial include: angelica, anise, caraway, cayenne, chickweed, cinnamon, clove, cumin, elecampane, eucalyptus, garlic, ginger, horehound, licorice root, lovage, marjoram, mullein, mugwort, onion, oregano, pineapple, primrose, rosemary, saffron, sage, savory, slippery elm, spicy foods, stinging nettle, and thyme. Supplements which may be helpful include: beta-carotene, B complex, C, calcium & magnesium, E, and zinc.
Chronic bronchitis, also known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, may include fever, nasal congestion, and a hacking cough that can linger for months at a time. As the condition gets worse, the affected person becomes increasingly short of breath, has difficulty with physical exertion, and may require supplemental oxygen. Chemical and biological irritation is believed to be the primary cause of chronic bronchitis, with exposure to cigarette smoke being the main cause. The severity of the disease is often determined by the extent and duration of exposure to tobacco smoke.
The chance for recovery is poor for people with advanced chronic bronchitis. Early recognition and treatment, however, can significantly improve the opportunity for a good outcome. Chronic bronchitis also makes you susceptible to recurrent respiratory infections. Call your doctor if you suffer any of these symptoms: coughing up blood; shortness of breath or chest pain; a high fever or shaking chills; a low-grade fever that lasts for three or more days; thick, greenish mucus; or a frequently recurring cough.
Disclaimer: This article is for entertainment purposes only, and is not intended for use as diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or as a substitute for consulting a licensed medical professional.