The usual cause is an infection due to a virus. The viruses responsible for acute bronchitis include those that might otherwise only cause a cold, but in bronchitis they spread further down the respiratory tubes. The bronchial lining, already damaged by this infection, is then open to secondary attack by bacteria.
People who have underlying lung problems, such as chronic (ie long-standing) bronchitis, are more likely to get acute bronchitis as their lung defence mechanism against infection is lower than normal. Smoking is the commonest reason for this to happen.
Although much less common, exposure to irritant fumes and dust can be a cause of acute bronchitis.
Acute infectious bronchitis is often preceded by signs of an upper respiratory tract infection: stuffy or runny nose, malaise, chills, fever, muscle pain, and sore throat. The cough is initially dry and does not produce mucus. Later, small amounts of thick green or green-yellow sputum may be coughed up.
Chronic bronchitis is characterised by a productive cough that initially occurs only in the morning.
Nutritional Supplements that could help. (Refer to the individual supplement for cautions in use.)
|Supplement/Herb||What it does||Dosage|
|Vitamin C||The common cold may lead to bronchitis in susceptible people, and numerous controlled studies have shown that vitamin C supplements can decrease the severity and duration of the common cold in otherwise healthy people.||1000mg of Vitamin C can be taken 3 or more times a day up to tolerance level, ie when it starts to produce loose bowel motions.|
|NAC (N-acetyl cysteine)||In addition to helping break up mucus, NAC may reduce the elevated bacterial counts that are often seen in the lungs of smokers with chronic bronchitis.||400 to 600 mg per da|
|Echinacea||Stimulates the immune system in a few different ways, including enhancing macrophage function and increasing T-cell response.||500mg 3 times daily|
|Garlic||Good for it’s antibacterial, anti-viral properties, also helps break up mucous.||As directed|
|Bromelain||Anti-inflammatory, can help reduce swelling and inflammation.||As directed|
Diet and Lifestyle Factors
Cows’ milk allergy has been associated with bronchitis in children, it is thought that dairy products may increase mucus production and, that people suffering from either acute or chronic bronchitis should limit their intake of dairy products.
Eating simple sugars (such as sucrose or fructose) can lead to suppression of immune function and are best avoided at all times.
In people with bronchitis, lipids in the lung tissue may undergo free-radical damage, particularly when the bronchitis is a result of exposure to environmental toxins or cigarette smoke. Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetable daily for their anti-oxidant properties.
Avoid where possible cigarette smoke, cold, close, damp weather and air pollution.
Check to see if you have any food allergies which may affect the health of your immune system and lungs. You can get a home testing kit from Food Detective.
Have plenty of fluids, especially hot drinks of honey, water and lemon juice, hot water and pineapple or pear juice, hot water and rosehip syrup.
Homoeopathic Remedies which may help. (Refer to the individual remedy for guidance on the one that is most appropriate for you.)
- Calcarea carbonica
- Hepar sulphuris
- Kali bichromicum
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