Bronchitis is a pulmonary ailment which is a result of inflammation of the lungs. There are two types of bronchitis: acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis can be caused by a virus or bacteria, and it usually comes right after a case of influenza or the acute aspiration of chemical and environmental pollutants. Chronic bronchitis is normally present in smokers or sometimes asthmatics. Both types of bronchitis are characterized by a constant cough, shortness of breath, and pain around the breastbone.
Chronic bronchitis has no cure, but it can be alleviated by giving up cigarettes and reducing pollutants in the home. Some medicines such as bronchodilators can also be used, as they are inhaled directly into the lungs and help reduce irritation. For severe cases, steroids may be prescribed.
Acute bronchitis, on the other hand, usually requires little to no medication. If the cause of the inflammation is viral, a doctor will usually prescribe bed rest and lots of fluids, as the bronchitis usually goes away by itself in a matter of days or weeks. Bacterial bronchitis requires antibiotics.
People who suffer from bronchitis often feel relief by using air filters and humidifiers in their home. Keeping the house dust-free also helps reduce the presence of irritants that aggravate the symptoms of bronchitis.
There are many natural remedies that can help you deal with the symptoms of bronchitis. One of the easiest ones is taking a hot shower, as the steam provides moisture to the lungs and alleviates the coughing. Over-the-counter cough medicine, including cough syrups and drops, can also help relieve the symptoms while letting the illness run its natural course. You should take enough to be able to function during the day, but not enough to suppress the cough completely, as this helps bring up mucus away from the lungs.
Aromatherapists recommend eucalyptus to reduce inflammation of the lungs. Adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a hot steamy bath can help, as can holding a hot wet towel over the face and breathing the essence. Another popular home remedy for bronchitis is thyme tea, since the herb is supposed to ease bronchial spasms. As with anything, it's important to be aware of changes in the body and consult a doctor if the cough worsens or doesn't go away after a few weeks.