Do You Have Bronchitis or Pneumonia?
Bronchitis usually happens after you've suffered through a cold. You may be feeling better but have an annoying cough that just won't go away. The cough can be dry or productive with phlegm and you may feel tired, have a mild headache, body aches and sore throat. Antibiotics are not recommended for bronchitis because it's usually caused by a virus. The virus causes inflammation and mucus production in the airways and this is what causes you to cough. Bronchitis lasts about 3 weeks and treatment includes supportive care until you recover.
Pneumonia and bronchitis can have similar symptoms. If you have a cough and any of these symptoms you might want to see your doctor because you may need stronger treatment to recover.
See your doctor if you have:
fever (over 100.4F) or chills
shortness of breath where you feel like you can't get enough air
feel really fatigued
coughing up blood
your cough lasts more than 3 weeks
Home Treatments You Can Do For Bronchitis
Treatment for bronchitis is about thinning out the mucus so it's easier to cough it out, resting and supporting your immune system to help your body heal and making yourself as comfortable as you can while you get through it. Here are some of my favorite naturopathic treatments for bronchitis.
Vapor Rub - Apply to front and back of your chest and then cover up and rest.
Stay hydrated - It's important to be well hydrated because this thins out mucus so you can cough it up easier. Stay hydrated with water, broth or tea. Lemon ginger tea with honey is always a good option.
Wet sock treatment - This is a very easy hydrotherapy treatment for reducing congestion and helping you sleep. You can use this for sore throats, ear infections, colds, coughs, sinus infections or headaches. The best time to do this is at night before going to bed because you need to stay warm while the treatment is working. Because this treatment relies on good circulation, use caution if you have circulatory issues like Raynaud's, diabetes or arterial insufficiency.
Take a pair of thin, cotton socks and soak them in cold water. Wring them out and set aside. You may want to put them in the freezer during step #2.
Soak your feet in hot water for 5-10 minutes until they're warm. Dry off your feet and legs. This is important because you want to get your feet warmed before you put the cold socks on.
Put the cotton socks on and then put a pair of dry, thick, wool socks over the cotton socks.
Bundle up and go to bed. Wear the socks all night while you sleep. By the morning the socks should be dry and warm. This treatment can have a sedating effect and you may find you sleep well and wake feeling rested!
Break up mucus - Thinning out and breaking up mucus makes it easier to get it out of the lungs. Over-the-counter options include Mucinex or anything that contains guaifenesin. N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), a well studied amino acid useful for respiratory illnesses, or Ivy Leaf cough syrup (Hedera helix) are two natural options.
Cough suppressants - I don't usually recommend suppressing a cough because it serves a purpose, but if you have an unproductive, dry cough that is interfering with your sleep it may be beneficial to do this. Wild cherry bark (Prunus serotina) is an antitussive and can be found as a cough syrup.
Steam inhalation - To make a steam treatment boil a pot of water, drop in some essential oils or herbs and cover your head and the pot with a towel. Breathe in the steam for about 15 minutes. This treatment feels really good because the steam gets deep in your lungs, hydrating the phlegm so it's less sticky and easier to cough it out. You can use a couple drops of antimicrobial essential oils like eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, thyme, or oregano in the hot water. If you don't have essential oils you can use fresh or dried herbs. What you have in your spice cabinet works just fine too!
If you're dealing with a cough that you just can't shake I hope you found something you can try at home to start feeling better soon!
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This website is not intended for the purpose of providing medical advice. All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.
Antibiotic Prescribing and Use in Doctor's Offices. (2017, September 25). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/community/for-patients/common-illnesses/bronchitis.html