Ease your coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath with these expert-recommended acute bronchitis remedies.
Sometimes a run-of-the-mill upper respiratory tract infection takes a turn for the worse, and is no longer just a common cold. You cough, you wheeze, you have shortness of breath. You say you have a chest cold, but your doctor calls it acute bronchitis, also known as a lower respiratory tract infection. It sounds scary, but usually isn’t very serious, and most of the time you won’t need antibiotics because the majority of cases result from a viral infection, like a cold or flu.
Get some rest
When you’re fighting an infection, your body craves down time. It may be tough to power down and log off from work, but it’s essential.
“Rest is the forgotten ticket to healing for many acute illnesses,” says Amy Rothenberg, a licensed naturopathic physician in private practice and a member and founder of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.
Experts say you need adequate sleep to maintain a healthy immune system. A Sept. 2015 study published in the journal Sleep found that people who are sleep-deprived are more vulnerable to the cold virus than those who get seven hours of slumber. That’s important because having a cold is often a precursor to bronchitis.
Drink lots of water
Staying adequately hydrated when you’re battling bronchitis helps to thin out mucus, making it easier to expel. And if you’re fighting a fever, you may already be dehydrated, so you want to replace lost fluid. Water is fine, but warm liquids may be more soothing. (Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages, which can dehydrate you.)
Although doctors widely recommend that patients with acute respiratory infections drink extra fluids, a 2011 scientific review found no evidence for or against boosting fluid intake. So far, there have been no randomized controlled trials to demonstrate the benefit or harm. Still, though, staying hydrated can only help your overall health; read up on the reasons why dehydration is bad for your body.
Add honey to your lemon water
Honey has been used as medicine since ancient times. It’s prized for its antibacterial properties. But the main reason honey is a bronchitis sufferer’s friend is that it soothes irritated mucus membranes, and it’s a sweet addition to tea or warm lemon water. (Lemon is widely used as an expectorant.)
Never give honey to infants and children under 1 year of age because it can cause botulism, a rare but potentially fatal type of food poisoning.
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