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Bronchitis - Conventional, Nutritional and Alternative Treatments

Conventional Treatment


Don’t think that you’re going to walk into your health care practitioner’s office and walk out with a prescription for antibiotics in response to your bronchitis.


Since the usual cause of bronchitis is a viral infection, antibiotics aren’t effective at treating this respiratory problem.  Antibiotics can only defeat bacterial infections. So most cases of bronchitis don’t require this form of treatment.  The only reason your personal health care practitioner may prescribe antibiotics if he suspects the origin of your illness is from a bacterial infection.  He may also prescribe 

this class of drugs, if you smoke or if you already suffer from a chronic lung problem.  In these cases the antibiotics would treat a possible, serious secondary infection.


She will advise you of the three hallmarks of bronchitis care though:  rest – and plenty of it, drink extra liquids, take a nonprescription cough medicine.


If your cough is bringing up mucus, it’s best not to suppress it.  You body is doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing at this time.  Coughing is your system’s mechanism for removing irritants from your lungs and air passages.  If you don’t cough, all of that “stuff” will just stay inside of you.


If your cough is keeping you up at night, then you need to find a type of cough suppressant that will calm your cough down enough so you can rest, but not enough to complete suppress it.


You can find several over-the-counter cough medicines that can do this for you.  Make sure before you purchase it, though, that you read the labels.  You’ll need to decide which is the best choice.  If you’re confused – and there are so many products on the market today it’s easy to get confused –ask your health care practitioner for advice.


There are several steps you can take on your own to help hasten the passing of your bronchitis, make you more comfortable and prevent complications. The first is to use a humidifier.  The warm, moist air created by this appliance can help relieve coughs and has the added benefit of actually loosening the mucus from your airways.


Before you even use this device, though, be sure to read the directions that come with it.  You’ll need to clean it frequently to avoid the build up of fungi and bacteria in the water reservoir.


Now’s the time to use some of those over-the-counter medications.  Think about using acetaminophen and ibuprofen for your fever and pain.  As long as you follow the instructions on the label you should be fine.


You also want to avoid – as much as is possible – exposure to known irritants – like tobacco smoke.  You may even want to consider wearing a mask when the air is polluted.  If you’re exposed to substances that irritate your bronchitis while you’re at work, wear a mask here as well.


Nutritional and Alternative Treatments


If you’re thinking about treating the symptoms of bronchitis on your own, you can easily look beyond herbs.  There are several other approaches that might work for you.


One of these is acupuncture.  Yes, the same ancient, Chinese treatment that many use to alleviate the pain of arthritis and many other ailments may, indeed, be an effective therapy for bronchitis as well.


Acupuncture may not only be able to help alleviate the symptoms of acute bronchitis but it may help those suffering from chronic bronchitis as well.  If you choose this route, you’ll discover that a professional acupuncturist will treat your bronchitis based on an assessment that is tailored to your specific circumstances.  The goal of this treatment is to clear the blockage in the chest area.


We’ve mentioned before the use of a humidifier.  But you may want to consider using your humidifier as an agent for a good aromatherapy session.  Consider adding an essential oil to your humidifier.  Some good choices to help combat bronchitis include cedarwood, bergamot, eucalyptus, myrrh, jasmine, lavender, tea tree and marjoram.  This is best done at night right before bedtime.  This herbal addition will help thin your mucus as well as ease your cough.


Another route to self-care while you have bronchitis is to supplement your dietary regimen with vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients.  Zinc, for example, is an excellent choice and one well worth your consideration.  This nutrient helps to enhance the activity of your immune system.  It also helps to protect you from a wide range of infections, not the least of which are colds and upper respiratory infections, like bronchitis.


Consider too other nutrients, including vitamin C.  This has long been the darling of both the natural health community and the medical establishment.  It helps to strengthen your immune system.  Vitamin C is especially useful if you suffer from occupational bronchitis.  This essential nutrient is believed to help rid your system of toxins.  So if you think your illness is do to irritants and toxins you come into contact with at work, you should make this part of your regular routine.


Of course one of the best ways to help overcome the symptoms of bronchitis is eat a healthy diet.  Make sure your diet includes plenty of foods rich in antioxidants.  Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is one way to ensure this. 


Many nutritionists also recommend that you eat a diet high in fatty acids, especially those o f the omega-3 variety.  Clinical studies show that omega-3 fatty acids may be able to reduce not only the frequency of bronchitis, but also the length of your respiratory illness.


You may also want to think about avoiding the consumption of all dairy products, at least during the duration of your bronchitis.  Some nutritionists believe that milk, cheese and other dairy products actually can increase the amount of mucus your body produces.


Bronchitis: Natural Treatments


Have you noticed?  Conventional treatment offers little in the way helping ease those bronchitis symptoms.  That doesn’t mean, however, that you need to stand by while you slowly wait for the cough to pass and the mucus to clear.


There are plenty of natural treatment options available to you.  Some of the best alternatives come from the world of herbal healing.  Before you embark on any of these herbs though you should visit your health care practitioner to ensure that none of the herbs you’re considering using interferes with any prescription medications you may be taking.


You may also want to consult a professional herbalist in order to discover the most potent herbs available for your condition.  This way you can be sure of receiving the maximum benefits from these powerful, natural healing substances.


The first herb you may want to investigate is Echinacea.  This is considered by many herbalists a natural bacterial and virus killer.  Ideally, you should take this as soon as you notice the first signs of a cold.  Most herbalists recommend about 200 mg four times a day.


If you already have the herb, ginkgo, in your medicine cabinet for other resons, now would be a great time to pull it out and start using it again.  Many herbalists recommend it for their clients who have bronchitis.


You may also want to ask your herbalist about using eucalyptus.  Commonly used to treat coughs and the common cold, eucalyptus helps to loosen the phlegm, which makes it ideal as an aid in helping to relieve the symptoms of bronchitis.


You may also want to consider using the herb barberry.  An excellent choice for fighting infection, barberry has also been know to help boost your immune system.


The active ingredient in peppermint, menthol, makes this herb a very effective decongestant.  Menthol actually thins your mucus, which makes it the ideal expectorant.  Not only that, but this healing plant also has the additional benefits of soothing and calming sore throats and dry coughs.


Slippery elm has the unique distinction of receiving recognition from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as being a safe and effective option for the treatment of a sore throat as well as respiratory symptoms.


The active compounds found in the stinging nettle plant help it to act as an expectorant which is why many herbalists recommend this to their clients.  But more than that, this particular herb may also possess anti-viral properties, which is just what you need to tackle that respiratory infection.




Note: Some statements in this article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.


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