How to Treat Chronic Bronchitis


Your doctor tells you your lingering cough means bronchitis. If you’ve had the illness two years in a row for as long as three months at a time, it’s classified as chronic bronchitis. If you have chronic bronchitis, chances are you’re a smoker.

That morning smoker’s cough with lots of mucus can progress to a wrenching cough that stays with you all day, every day. If you catch it early, you can avoid emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary (lung) disease, frequent results of chronic bronchitis. But if you let the condition go too long without treatment, it can become a permanent health problem. It’s wise to do all you can to keep chronic bronchitis from getting worse.

Chronic Bronchitis

Whether you’ve had chronic bronchitis for two years or 10, here are some suggestions to help you feel better and be healthier:

  • Lower the smoke screen. If you smoke or live with a smoker, you have to make a choice. The smoke will make you progressively worse — you can’t breathe smoke and be healthy at the same time. Your best choice? Quit smoking as soon as you can. Many products and programs are available to help you, and you’ll feel better almost immediately.
  • Eat like a champion. Poor nutrition makes chron­ic bronchitis easier to get and harder to get rid of. Here are some suggestions for a healthy diet to combat bronchitis:
  • -Go for whole foods. Fresh, unprocessed food is healthier and more nutritious than processed food. Choose whole fruit instead of fruit juice, whole grains instead of refined flour, and fresh vegetables, raw or lightly cooked.
  • -Avoid foods high in calories but low in nutri­tion. Soft drinks, fried foods, candy, sugary desserts, and fatty snacks fall into this category.
  • -Catch fish. Research shows that eating two and one half servings of fish per week may help prevent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Fish is a source of high-quality pro­tein in your diet, too.
  • -Turn up the heat. Eating hot, spicy foods such as chili peppers, mustard, horseradish, cayenne pepper, garlic, and onions helps you feel better by opening your air passages.
  • -Get your vitamins and minerals. Make sure you are getting at least the recommended dietary allowance, especially of vitamins A, C, and E. Vegetables such as carrots, celery, watercress, and spinach provide these vita­mins. Fruits such as grapes, oranges, lemons, and black currants are also good choices.
  • l   Take a nice long drink. Drinking eight to 10 glass­es of water or other healthy liquids a day will help thin mucus and make it easier to cough up.
  • Avoid allergens. Dust, pollen, and harsh chemical fumes will irritate your bronchial tubes and lungs. Add a good filter to your air conditioning system to catch some of the allergens. Air pollu­tion is a serious threat, so stay out of polluted air as much as you can.
  • Stay out of bad weather. Cold, damp weather and freezing temperatures will aggravate your bronchi­tis. So will sudden temperature changes, such as going from a warm house to a cold car. Try to avoid extremes.
  • Play it cool. If you laugh or talk loudly, cry, or get upset, it can trigger a fit of coughing. Tone down your activity and emotions to control your bron­chitis.
  • Don’t take cough suppressants. For chronic bron­chitis, you need a productive cough to get out the mucus.
  • The long-range plan for chronic bronchitis
  • Try these additional measures to prevent flare-ups:
  • Avoid colds and flu like the plague. Even a mild cold can cause your bronchitis to act up. Wash your hands frequently to get rid of germs, espe­cially when you’ve been out in public. Get a flu vaccination every year to prevent influenza, and ask your doctor if you should get a pneumonia vaccine as well. If you do catch something, have your doctor treat you right away.

Bronchitis Tubes

  • Exercise for better health. Regular aerobic exer­cise will not only strengthen and tone your mus­cles but will help reduce your shortness of breath. If you are overweight, as many people with chron­ic bronchitis are, exercise will also help you regain a healthy weight. Walking, riding a stationary bike, and stair climbing are good exercise choices.
  • Consider a big change. Although it may seem drastic, the ultimate treatment for your chronic bronchitis may be to change jobs or move. Working around lots of dust or other pollutants will worsen your health. So will living in a pollut­ed area or a climate with cold, damp winters. It may take a new job or a new state to improve your bronchitis. Just be sure to look before you leap. Visit an area with a warmer, drier climate before you move there to see if it makes a differ­ence in your bronchitis.

The wrenching cough of bronchitis can be exhausting and discouraging. But along with your doctor’s care, you have many ways to help yourself feel better. Probably the most important is to say good-bye to smoke and smok­ing.

If your bronchitis is still in the acute stage, “nip it in the bud,” as Barney Fife would say, so it doesn’t become a chronic problem. If it’s already a constant companion, do all you can to keep it under control so you can feel better and live a healthier life.

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About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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