What is Bronchitis?
Bronchitis means an inflammation of the mucous membrane lining the bronchi and bronchial tube. It is a breathing disorder affecting the expiratory function. In most cases, some infection also occurs in the nose and throat.
The bronchi are narrow tubes leading from the windpipe (or trachea) connecting the upper respiratory tract, nose, throat and sinuses, to the lungs. It is usually the spread of an infection downwards from the nose and throat to the bronchi, that causes bronchitis.
Bronchitis is the most common disease next to indigestion and diarrhea. It is especially prevalent in children who are just starting to mix with other children at playgroup or nursery school. They have no in-built immunity till then to all the infections they are likely to contact for the first time. And so, coughs, colds and bronchitis can occur with monotonous regularity in this age group, particularly in allergic children. Bronchitis may be acute or chronic. In chronic cases, the disease is of long duration and more serious.
Is Bronchitis contagious?
- Yes, Bronchitis is contagious. It can be spread by direct or indirect contact.
- It can be spread by coughing, sneezing, and touching items an infected person has used.
What are the signs and symptoms of bronchitis ?
Bronchitis may be acute or chronic. In chronic cases, the disease is of long duration. It is more serious than the acute type, as permanent changes may have occurred in the lungs thereby interfering with their normal movements.
In most cases of bronchitis, the larynx, trachea and bronchial tubes are acutely inflamed. The tissues are swollen due to irritation. Large quantity of mucous is secreted and poured into the windpipe to protect the inflamed mucous membranes. Some of the most common symptoms are:
What causes Bronchitis?
Bronchitis may be caused by a virus, bacteria, smoking or the inhalation of chemical pollutants or dust. When the cells of the bronchial-lining tissue are irritated beyond a certain point, the tiny hairs (cilia) within them, which normally trap and eliminate pollutants, stop functioning. Consequently, the air passages become clogged by debris and irritation increases. In response, a heavy secretion of mucus develops, which causes the characteristic cough of bronchitis.
Types of Bronchitis?
Acute and Chronic are the two types of bronchitis.
- Acute bronchitis is always caused by viruses that get into the bronchi and cause infection. Acute bronchitis usually lasts about 10 days. The common symptoms are cold and fever.
- Chronic bronchitis is caused most often by exposure to airborne pollutants such as smoke, excessive dust in the air, or chemicals. Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of chronic bronchitis. Symptoms of chronic bronchitis include a cough that produces mucus (sometimes called sputum), trouble breathing and a feeling of tightness in your chest. It increases the risk of developing other illnesses, such as pneumonia
Natural home remedies for the treatment of bronchitis.
1. Dried Ginger Powder
An effective home remedy for bronchitis is the mixture of dried ginger powder, pepper and long pepper taken in equal quantities of a quarter teaspoon three times a day with honey. The powder of these three ingredients have anti -pyretic qualities and are effective in dealing with fever accompanied with bronchitis. They also tone up the metabolism of the patient.
Onion has been used as a home remedy for centuries in bronchitis. It is said to possess expectorant properties. It liquefies phelgm and prevents its further formation. The intake of half a teaspoon of raw onion juice first thing in the morning will be beneficial in such cases.
3. Turmeric Powder
One of the most effective home remedy for bronchitis is the use of turmeric powder. Half a teaspoon of this powder should be administered with half a glass of milk, two or three times daily. It acts best when taken on an empty stomach.
4. Drumstick Leaves
A soup prepared from drumstick leaves is also highly beneficial in the treatment of bronchitis. This soup is prepared by adding a handful of leaves to 150 ml. of water which has been heated to a boiling point. The water is allowed to boil further for five minutes. It should then be removed from fire and allowed to cool. A little salt, pepper and lime juice may be added to this soup. This drink should be taken first thing every morning.
5. Sesame Seeds
An infusion of one teaspoon of sesame seeds, mixed with a teaspoon of linseed, a pinch of common salt, and a teaspoon of honey, can be given once at night with beneficial results in bronchitis. Half a teaspoon of dry seeds pounded into powder should be given, mixed with two tablespoons of water, twice daily. Alternately, a decoction of half a teaspoon of the same should be taken twice daily.
An emulsion of almonds is useful in bronchial diseases, including bronchitis. It is prepared by making a powder of seven kernels of almonds and mixing the powdered kernels in a cup of orange or lemon juice. This emulsion may be taken once daily at night.
Chicory or endive is another effective home remedy for bronchitis. The powder of the dry root of this herb should be given in doses of half a teaspoon mixed with one teaspoonful of honey thrice daily. It is a very useful expectorant in chronic bronchitis.
Fifty grams of fresh leaves of spinach, and 250 ml of water should be mixed with a pinch of ammonium chloride and one teaspoonful of honey. This infusion is an effective expectorant in the treatment of bronchitis.
Bronchitis Prevention tips
- Stop smoking.
- You should take plenty of fruit juices.
- Also avoid breathing in dust or chemical fumes.