He has a miserable case of bronchitis and his cough could wake the dead. Family members and coworkers are losing patience. Even your pets are bothered by your constant hacking.
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Is there anything I can do to calm your agitated airways? Family doctor Donald Ford, MD, shares his advice for treating bronchitis at home.
Bronchitis is especially annoying because the cough can last for weeks, even after the infection has disappeared. So what can you do?
First, make sure you have bronchitis. If you are unsure or have a high fever, consult your doctor to rule out more serious problems such as pneumonia, advises Dr. Ford.
If you are fighting bronchitis, wait for your cough to last for several frustrating weeks. Bronchitis is almost always caused by a virus. That means antibiotics won't help, and there isn't much I can do to speed up the recovery process.
Still, people try all kinds of things to help relieve symptoms. Some work well. Others, not so much. Here is the scoop on 7 common remedies for persistent cough.
While there is no cure for bronchitis, medicine can help relieve symptoms, says Dr. Ford:
- Cough expectorant: Look for medications with guaifenesin, a common ingredient in over-the-counter cold medications. It is an expectorant, which means that it helps to loosen mucus.
- Cough suppressant: Other over-the-counter cough medicines can suppress your piracy, a particularly useful trick if your cough keeps you awake at night. For really persistent cough, doctors may prescribe prescription cough medications.
- Steroid medications: Some patients benefit from prescription steroid medications, which relieve inflammation in the airways.
Swallow enough to help loosen the mucus so you can cough (disgusting, but rewarding). Unfortunately, wine and coffee do not have the same hydration benefit, so stay in HtwoOr, herbal tea and broths.
When you have a deep cough, it feels like you can't clean the dirt from your lungs. Steam helps loosen the mucus so you can get rid of it. If you belong to a health club, this is definitely your chance to go to the sauna. Or simply open the shower in your own bathroom and let the room get wet.
You can also fill a pot or pot with boiling water and lean over it to inhale the steam. "But be careful," warns Dr. Ford. "Don't cover your head with a towel to trap steam, because it can get too hot and burn your airways."
4. Saline sprays and saltwater gargles
Use a saline nasal spray or a Neti pot to rinse the sinuses. “Even if the symptoms are in the chest, most people also have some congestion. The nasal saline solution helps eliminate mucus and also moisturizes the tissues, "says Dr. Ford. Gargling with salt water can also soothe and moisturize the sore throat.
Tea with honey is an old classic for the treatment of colds. Mother Nature's favorite sweetener probably won't do much to clear up a cough, says Dr. Ford, but it can relieve the sore throat that often accompanies it.
6. cough drops
Despite the name, they don't do much to clean the mucus. But, like honey, they can calm your throat and help you feel better.
7. Essential oils
Yes, they are fashionable, but there is no evidence that essential oils can help with the symptoms of bronchitis. However, some people find that breathing steam with menthol oil is especially relaxing, says Dr. Ford. "It doesn't necessarily work better than simple steam, but it can feel good."
Unfortunately, you will still have to practice patience while recovering from bronchitis. But with these tricks, you will feel at least a little better while you wait.