What is bronchitis? What are its clinical treatments and home remedies?
What is bronchitis? What are its clinical treatments and home remedies? Bronchitis is the inflammation of large airways called bronchi, which carry inhaled air from the nose or mouth to the lungs. Inflammation can occur due to many reasons such as microbial infections, allergic particles, and irritants such as smoke, etc.
Bronchitis can be acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis is usually treatable, whereas chronic bronchitis lasts longer and is not treatable completely. Approximately 10 million people in the United States are affected by bronchitis.1
In this article, you’ll get to know more about bronchitis, its clinical treatments, and, home remedies?
More on bronchitis
Bronchitis, being an inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes of the airway, causes a buildup of thickened mucus inside the bronchial lumen. Most of the bronchitis cases occur because of an infection or irritant irritates the bronchial cell lining ending up in excessive mucus production. To clear this thick mucus, the patient then coughs aggressively and spits it out of the mouth.
Types of Bronchitis
There are two types of bronchitis:
Acute Bronchitis: Acute bronchitis lasts up to 3 weeks and is usually self-limiting. It is also commonly called chest cold because it most commonly occurs in winters and presents with the common cold, sore throat, and flu. It can affect people of any age
Chronic Bronchitis: Chronic bronchitis is defined as chronic cough and sputum production for at least 3 months a year for consecutively two years. It is one of the group of diseases called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). It usually affects people over the age of forty.2
What causes bronchitis?
Most common causes of bronchitis are enlisted and explained below:
Cigarette Smoke: Cigarette smoke possesses harmful and carcinogenic chemicals that damage the respiratory airways severely. Chronic smokers are at a very high risk of developing respiratory problems, including bronchitis, bronchiectasis, asthma, and lung cancer.
Microbial Infections: Viruses and/or bacteria may cause some serious infections of the trachea and bronchi. These infections inflame them and thus potentially give rise to bronchitis.
Occupational Exposure: Many persons do such occupations in which they get exposed to such irritant particles that harm our respiratory tract and lungs. Such particles include dust, coal, chlorine, and leather tan, etc.
Respiratory Diseases: Many respiratory diseases predispose to other sorts of problems. One such example is asthma which is highly associated with bronchitis.3
Symptoms of Bronchitis
Symptoms of either acute or chronic bronchitis are almost similar to other respiratory inflammatory conditions that include:
- Severe cough
- Production of mucus
- Shortness of breath
- Chest Discomfort
Regarding acute bronchitis, patients also suffer from cold, mild headache or body aches.4
Clinical Treatments of Bronchitis
Different treatment options are for acute bronchitis as well as chronic bronchitis. These treatments are:
For Acute Bronchitis: Acute Bronchitis is usually self-limiting and resolves itself after some time. However, the treatments done are actually for relieving the symptoms.
- For cough, pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapies are done.
Drugs called beta-agonists are routinely used in patients who wheeze while breathing.5
For Chronic Bronchitis: Treatment options for chronic bronchitis are not a hundred percent effective and that is the reason these go for a very long time.
- Use of mucolytics to break down thick mucus and mucoregulators to decrease mucus production.
- Drinking concentrated saltwater initiates productive coughing enabling the patient to spit sputum out.
- Antibiotic therapy is also done to control bacterial infections.
- Bronchodilators are also prescribed to the bronchitis patients so that they could get enough air in their lungs.
Corticosteroids usage reduces the inflammation.1
Home Remedies for Bronchitis
The best home remedies for bronchitis patients are as follows:
Steam: Steam is a very useful remedy as it helps to break the thick mucus. It also eases the coughing and soothes your throat.
Salt Water: Gargling with salt water is effective as it initiates productive coughing.
Avoid Smoking: Smoking is the root of every respiratory malady. Quitting smoking prevents many diseases.
Ginger: Researches have shown that ginger has anti-inflammatory effects. Such anti-inflammatory properties are very useful in the prevention of bronchitis. The best is to use it fresh.
Turmeric: Turmeric has also been a beneficial remedy for bronchitis patients.
The Bottom Line
Always remember that every disease can be possibly managed. You just need to know the proper remedies. In addition to this, bronchitis being a respiratory disorder, must be treated with proper professional medical care. You should always do what your doctor says. You can also do effective home remedies after consulting your doctor. Regular check-ups can help you to know the severity of your disease and thus, you can then easily opt for possible treatments. Maintain a healthy diet. Follow proper measures and breathing techniques, which would help you to breathe properly.
1. Dotan, Y., So, J. Y. & Kim, V. Chronic Bronchitis: Where Are We Now? Chronic Obstr. Pulm. Dis. (Miami, Fla.) 6, 178–192 (2019).
2. Bronchitis Symptoms & Treatment. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/3993-bronchitis.
3. Bronchiectasis - NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bronchiectasis/.
4. Bronchitis | National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/bronchitis.
5. Kinkade, S. & Long, N. A. Acute bronchitis. Am. Fam. Physician 94, 560–565 (2016).