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  Bronchitis, Acute  
 
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Signs, symptoms and indicators | Conditions that suggest it | Contributing risk factors | Other conditions that may be present | Recommendations

 

Acute bronchitis is an infection of the bronchial tree, which is a network made up of the tubes that carry air into your lungs. When these tubes get infected, they swell and mucus forms. This mucus makes it hard to breathe and must be removed; coughing and wheezing are the result. Acute bronchitis is almost always caused by viruses that attack the lining of the bronchial tree and cause infection. As your body fights back against these viruses, more swelling occurs and more mucus is made. It takes time for your body to kill the viruses and heal the damage to your bronchial tubes. Sometimes the cough from acute bronchitis lasts for several weeks or months, generally because the bronchial tree is taking a long time to heal. However, a cough that doesn’t go away may be a sign of another problem, such as asthma or pneumonia.

In most cases, the same viruses that cause colds cause acute bronchitis. Research has shown that bacterial infection is much less common in bronchitis than previously thought. Very rarely, an infection caused by a fungus can lead to acute bronchitis. The viruses that cause acute bronchitis are sprayed into the air or onto people’s hands when they cough. You can get acute bronchitis if you breathe in those viruses or transfer them from a contaminated hand to your mouth.

If you smoke or are around damaging fumes (such as those in certain kinds of factories), you are more likely to get acute bronchitis and to have it longer. This is because your bronchial tree is already damaged.

Most cases of acute bronchitis will go away on their own after a few days. Because acute bronchitis is usually caused by viruses, antibiotics (medicines that kill bacteria) usually do not help. Even if you cough up mucus that is colored or thick, antibiotics probably won’t help you get better any faster.

For some people with acute bronchitis, doctors prescribe medicines that are usually used to treat asthma. These medicines can help open the bronchial tubes and clear out mucus. They are usually given with an inhaler. An inhaler sprays the medicine right into the bronchial tree.

You should call your doctor if:

  • You continue to wheeze and cough for more than one month, especially at night or when you are active.
  • You continue to cough for more than one month and sometimes have a bad tasting fluid come up into your mouth.
  • You have a cough, you feel very sick and weak, and you have a high fever that doesn’t go down.
  • You cough up blood.
  • You have trouble breathing when you lie down.
  • Your feet swell.

Prevention
If you smoke, the best defense against acute bronchitis is to quit. Smoking damages your bronchial tree, making it easier for viruses to cause infection and slowing down the healing process. Another way to keep from getting acute bronchitis is to wash your hands often to get rid of any viruses.
 

 
 

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Bronchitis, Acute:
 
 
Symptoms - Metabolic  Having a slight/having a moderate/having a high fever

Symptoms - Respiratory

  Recent/chronic productive cough
  Wheezing

Counter-indicators:
  Lack of productive cough
 
 

Conditions that suggest Bronchitis, Acute:
 
 
Symptoms - RespiratoryCounter-indicators:
  No history of bronchitis
 
 

Risk factors for Bronchitis, Acute:
 
 
Autoimmune  Lupus, SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythromatosis) / Risk
 Infections of the respiratory tract are common in lupus patients.

Infections

  Mycoplasma Infection

Nutrients

  Vitamin A Requirement
 See the link between Cystitis and Vitamin A Deficiency.

Symptoms - Respiratory

  Recurrent bronchitis

Tumors, Malignant

  Hodgkin's Lymphoma
  Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
 
 

Bronchitis, Acute suggests the following may be present:
 
 
Cell Salts  Cell Salt, Ferrum Phos Need
  Cell Salt, Kali Sulf Need
  Cell Salt, Kali Mur Need

Immunity

  Weakened Immune System
 
 

Recommendations for Bronchitis, Acute:
 
 
Animal-based  Microdose DNA
 In the microdose DNA bronchitis study, the summary was: In patients with wet cough, sputum production, and impaired pulmonary function, which was a measure of forced expiratory volume in one second of about 65%, the DNA demonstrated increased sputum production and ease of expectoration. There was a very definite improvement in the symptoms of chronic bronchitis including ease of breathing. People were able to sleep through the night without coughing. There was significant improvement with walking and working. Objectively, there was improved pulmonary function, most notably on small airway flow, the FEV 25/75 fraction and by improved overall quality of life. The more important thing about this was it’s excellent safety profile. There was no question that there was a very statistically significant difference between the active and placebo groups.[Allan Lieberman, MD - Natural Microdose DNA AAEM Presentation, October 2004, Hilton Head, South Carolina]

Botanical

  Ma Huang (Ephedra equisetina)
 Ephedra (the active ingredient in Ma Huang) and pseudoephedrine have been used with clinical success in Chinese studies. [Pharmacology and Applications of Chinese Materia Medica, Vol 2, pp.1119-24, World Scientific Publishing.]. Dosage: 500-1,000mg of the crude herb tid, or ephedrine 15-25mg tid.

  Comfrey (Symphytum officionale)
 Comfrey has been used with benefit in cases of bronchitis and irritable cough, where it will soothe the irritation and promote expectoration.

To make a decoction: put 1-3 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb (leaf and/or root) in a cup of water, bring to the boil and let simmer for l0-l5 minutes. Drink this three times a day. If using a tincture: take 2 to 4ml three times a day.

  Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
 Licorice root, among other herbs, is a commonly-used expectorant to ease mucus removal in bronchitis.

  Frankincense (Boswellia carteri)
  Herbal Combinations
 Dr. Christopher's Bronchitis Formula contains Comfrey Root (Symphytum officinale), Horehound (Marrubium vulagre), boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum), Coltsfoot (Tussilago Farfara), Elecampane Root (Inula helenium), Ginger Root and Lobelia (Lobelia inflata).

Comfrey is specific for bronchitis, it is one of the greatest cleansers for getting mucus out of the body. You can relax the throat, stomach, and bronchi rapidly with a very small amount of lobelia. Boneset, Coltsfoot & Elcampane Root assist in clearing up old chronic diseases of the lungs and chest. Horehound will help to expectorate tough phlegm form the chest. Ginger root aids in circulation and removal of wastes.

Dosage: Two to four droppers full (½ to 1 tsp.) 3 to 5 times a day.

Växa's Lung Formula is available over the Internet. It is a combination of nutrients, herbs, and herbal extracts traditionally used around the world to support lung function. Lung Formula promotes your body's natural process of respiration while providing nutritional support to the lungs. This formula is a blend of homeopathic remedies, along with herbs rich in key nutrients traditionally known for their value in naturally supporting lung function like lungwort, white horehound, colsfoot, lung moss, garden violet, soap bark in a base of minerals and trace elements traditionally used to support lung function.

  Plantain (Plantago major)
 The leaves of this plant act as a gentle expectorant while soothing inflamed and sore membranes, making it ideal for coughs and mild bronchitis.

Diet

  Sugars Avoidance / Reduction
 Due to its inhibition of the immune system, sugar consumption should be stopped until all bronchitis symptoms have ceased.

  Increased Water Consumption
 Ensuring plenty of fluids prevents the mucus thickening associated with dehydration and eases mucus removal in patients with bronchitis. Drinking fluids helps the mucus become more watery and thus easier to cough up.

Drug

Not recommended:
  Antibiotics
 Patients suffering from bronchitis who were given a widely prescribed antibiotic (Zithromax) did no better than patients who took a low dose of vitamin C, which is known to be ineffective in treating bronchitis. Physicians commonly prescribe antibiotics to treat this condition, but prior studies of whether antibiotics help patients with bronchitis have had mixed results. The patients were also given standard therapy for bronchitis, including cough syrup and an albuterol inhaler to ease their cough.

Researchers found that after 7 days, the patients given the antibiotic and those given vitamin C did not differ significantly in their physical improvement and the timing of their return to regular activity. If there is a suspicion of pneumonia, the patient should be reassessed. Sometimes pneumonia is misdiagnosed as acute bronchitis. [The Lancet May 11, 2002;359: pp.1648-1654]

Extract

  Rye Grass Extract

Habits

  Tobacco Avoidance
 The bronchial tree will heal faster if you cut down on the number of cigarettes or, better still, stop smoking altogether.

Lab Tests/Rule-Outs

  Digestive Enzymes / (Trial)
 Digestive pancreatic enzymes have been used to hasten the recovery process in both acute and chronic bronchitis. [ Enzymtherapie - grundlagen und anwendungsmoglichkeiten. Naturund Ganzheitsmedizin 3, 1991.]

Physical Medicine

  Steam / Spray Treatments
  Hydrotherapy
 
 


KEY
Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
Strongly counter-indicative
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended
May have adverse consequences







GLOSSARY

Acute:  An illness or symptom of sudden onset, which generally has a short duration.

Asthma:  A lung disorder marked by attacks of breathing difficulty, wheezing, coughing, and thick mucus coming from the lungs. The episodes may be triggered by breathing foreign substances (allergens) or pollutants, infection, vigorous exercise, or emotional stress.

Bacteria:  Microscopic germs. Some bacteria are "harmful" and can cause disease, while other "friendly" bacteria protect the body from harmful invading organisms.

Bronchitis:  Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the bronchial tubes, frequently accompanied by cough, hypersecretion of mucus, and expectoration of sputum. Acute bronchitis is usually caused by an infectious agent and of short duration. Chronic bronchitis, generally the result of smoking, may also be known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or Emphysema.

Cystitis:  Inflammation of the urinary bladder.

Virus:  Any of a vast group of minute structures composed of a protein coat and a core of DNA and/or RNA that reproduces in the cells of the infected host. Capable of infecting all animals and plants, causing devastating disease in immunocompromised individuals. Viruses are not affected by antibiotics, and are completely dependent upon the cells of the infected host for the ability to reproduce.

Vitamin A:  A fat-soluble vitamin essential to one's health. Plays an important part in the growth and repair of body tissue, protects epithelial tissue, helps maintain the skin and is necessary for night vision. It is also necessary for normal growth and formation of bones and teeth. For Vitamin A only, 1mg translates to 833 IU.