Bronchitis Help Sheet

If you tend to suffer regular colds during the winter months and your immune system is really low – then if your bronchial tubes become infected – things can turn nasty. Bronchitis can have a viral or bacterial origin and symptoms normally occur when you have an upper respiratory tract infection. If you have a cold or flu, immune function can become very low indeed and the infection can then spread down towards the lungs. For some sensitive individuals tobacco smoke is enough to set them off, but with other people exposure to pollens and other toxins they inhale can lead to an attack of bronchitis.

Some cases of bronchitis can be managed without the use of antibiotics, but if you find it painful to take a deep breath, have a temperature for more than 48 hours and can hear a rattle in your chest when you breathe or cough – you must see your doctor. If the infection reaches your lungs it can turn to pneumonia. Having suffered bronchitis twice in the last 2 years which resulted from colds caught on long plane journeys I can assure you this condition is no laughing matter and once you have the weakness – you really need to look after yourself if you get a cold or become run down. If my immune system had been in better shape I would have been better able to handle these infections.

Foods to Avoid:

Greatly reduce your intake of any foods containing sugar – this includes concentrated fruit juices – as sugar reduces your immune system’s ability to fight infections. While symptoms are acute avoid all dairy products from any source, plus refined carbohydrates such as cakes, pies, pastries and biscuits which all create more mucous.

Friendly Foods:

Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. When you feel this poorly – your digestive system can labour under the strain. Therefore eat fresh vegetable soups – thickened with sweet potatoes rich in vitamin A, which helps to boost your immune system. Garlic and onions are really cleansing and have antiseptic properties. Lightly stew or grill the fruits, which make them easier to digest. Eating fish regularly helps to reduce the frequency and severity of bronchial attacks and if you are undergoing one, the oils in fish can provide a strong anti-inflammatory effect. As you are likely to be running a temperature drink at least 6 glasses of water daily. Make teas with fresh lemon juice, a small piece of root ginger and a little honey. Drink lots of herbal teas such as liquorice and elderberry.

Useful Remedies:

Bromelain is extremely effective for bronchial conditions as it improves lung functions, softens mucous and helps to loosen the mucous. If you are frequently exposed to environmental toxins or cigarette smoke, taking vitamin C and vitamin E can reduce the damage and protect your lungs.

Liquorice is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and can be very useful with bronchial conditions. Zinc gluconate lozenges really help to reduce the coughing and sore throat. Olive Leaf Extract has powerful anti bacterial qualities which have been shown to help with respiratory conditions – take 3 capsules daily to help boost your immune system Include a good quality multi vitamin and mineral in your regimen.

Helpful Hints:

  • Inhaling steam is really helpful for opening up the lungs. Add a few drops of Olbas Oil or any pure eucalyptus oil into a bowl of boiling water. Place a towel over your head and really inhale the steam through your nose. If you do this 4-5 times daily it helps to loosen up your chest. If the infection becomes serious and you are prescribed antibiotics, as soon as you finish the course begin taking the healthy bacteria acidophilus/bifidus for at least 6 weeks to replenish healthy bacteria in the gut which in turn helps immune function.
  • Echinacea taken regularly helps prevent viral bronchitis from progressing into a more dangerous bacterial infection.
  • The herbs mullein, wild cherry bark, liquorice and lomatium are useful expectorants and have anti viral properties. These herbs are available as tinctures and taken on a regular basis can help loosen mucous, reduce the coughing and help fight the infection. Also available from FSC as above.
  • In general terms whenever you are suffering from a bronchial infection you should stay in bed and rest for at least 2 days. The more you try to struggle on – the slower your recovery. Use an Ultrabreathe – a small inexpensive device that helps to exercise the lungs. For details log onto their website: www.ultrabreathe.com

© Hazel Courteney 2013.  All rights reserved