Bronchitis is a condition of the respiratory system where the bronchi or bronchial tubes in the lungs become inflamed. The bronchi are airways in the lungs responsible for the transfer of air into the lungs. Once the bronchi are inflamed, the most common symptoms would include general chest discomfort, mucus and phlegm, shortness of breath, and wheezing.
Bronchitis is among the most common diseases in the world, affecting people of all ages and conditions. It also counts among the deadliest ones killing millions per year. Despite this, bronchitis is relatively easy to detect and to treat. Early detection could significantly reduce the risk of further complications for as long as proper treatment procedures are followed.
Types of bronchitis and the cure
There are generally two types of bronchitis: acute, and chronic. Acute bronchitis lasts around 3 weeks, and is, in most cases, caused by a viral infection. This may be spread through direct contact with already infected people or through air transmission. Smoking and air pollution can also cause acute bronchitis, albeit to a lesser degree.
Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, lasts significantly longer than acute bronchitis, lasting for 2 years at most. Smoking is the most common cause of this type of bronchitis, although most people with this condition would already have a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
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The Do’s of the bronchitis
Drink plenty of water and do first aid
At the initial onset of the symptoms, drinking plenty of water could help alleviate the pain and discomfort brought about the disease. This could also flush out toxins from your system and help you get on track to becoming better.
Drinking plenty of water also prevents your body from being dehydrated. Cough drops/candies are also recommended to soothe the sore or itchy feeling on the throat from too much coughing.
Get regularly checked
It is always better to have a doctor check your condition to confirm if you are indeed suffering from bronchitis or from some other disease. A personal check up is almost always required as self-medication from other sources can lead to worse conditions especially if coupled with wrong medication.
Going to the doctor could also identify the root cause of your bronchitis and this knowledge will come in useful in avoiding these sources and preventing a relapse of the disease.
While it may cost a bit more money, going to the doctor could be ultimately cheaper in the long run, as compared to just staying at home, or from following internet answers as the disease itself is addressed at the onset.
Follow prescribed treatment
The prescription issued following the treatment should be followed the letter. The prescribed medicine should be taken at the proper doses at the proper intervals. Failure can lead to longer recovery times or stronger relapses as resistance to treatment could develop if the treatment routine is not properly followed.
Of course, resting at home could help your body recover faster and prevents the spread of the disease to other people. Recovery times are always better if you do not subject your body to other sources of stress, like travel, school, or work, when you are already sick.
Staying at home is always the best option as you can generally get better faster and you could go back to your usual activities after a much shorter period of waiting time.
Wash your hands
Washing your hands, after contact with other people, could prevent the transfer of pathogens to your system. Proper washing with soap should always be done as a mere running of hands through water would not be enough to stop the disease-causing microorganisms from entering your body.
Washing is an activity that could single-handedly reduce your risk of getting bronchitis and other diseases by a significant margin.
The Don’ts of the bronchitis
Whether already afflicted with bronchitis or not, smoking should be avoided as this activity significantly increases the risk of acquiring bronchitis and other more problematic diseases like emphysema and cancer. Smokers are generally more in danger of acquiring respiratory diseases – including bronchitis, because of the number of dangerous substances found in cigarettes.
Smoking while already sick with bronchitis could lead to further complications and disastrous results as you are, in effect, punishing your lungs even more. Non-smokers should also avoid contact with smokers as mere exposure to smoke could weaken your body and increase the risk of contracting bronchitis even if you are not a smoker yourself.
Keep exposure to polluted environments a minimum
Avoiding polluted environments may seem difficult in this heavily urbanized and modern world that we live in, but is necessary for reducing the risk of getting bronchitis. Moving to greener environments and avoiding city living is definitely a sure way of reducing your risk of getting bronchitis but if this proves to be impractical and impossible, wearing devices meant to filter out pollutants could work.
Face masks and nose plugs may prove useful in these situations as these implements prevent harmful pollutants, which may cause bronchitis, from entering your system.
Contact with other people to avoid spreading
Avoiding contact with others would prevent the spread of pathogens that could cause other people to contract the disease as well. This is the same with other contagious diseases as direct contact is among the leading causes of acquiring this kind of diseases.
Like most other diseases and conditions, bronchitis can be easily avoided and treated if we follow the proper treatment procedures and if we avoid engaging in harmful activities that could increase the risk of exposure to the diseases.