There are two types of bronchitis: acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection and often referred to as infectious bronchitis. It usually occurs in wintertime and symptoms start out very similarly to that of the common cold except for the productive cough which brings up mucous. There may also be wheezing which doesn’t occur with the common cold. Acute bronchitis is self-limiting and will usually go away with adequate rest and hydration.

Signs and symptoms of acute bronchitis include:

Sore throat and fever
Coughing with mucous
Burning sensation in the chest area
Fatigue
Wheezing
Chronic bronchitis is when symptoms have been present for at least 3 months in a year for at least two consecutive years. Each time the bronchitis returns, it can take longer to treat and for symptoms to subside. Chronic bronchitis produces chronic coughing with excessive amounts of mucous being expelled.

There is also wheezing, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.

The main cause of chronic bronchitis is long-term cigarette smoking as this irritates the bronchi, resulting in excess mucous production. Another common cause is exposure to industrial pollutants in fields such as coal mining and metal moulding where individuals are continually exposed to chemicals, fumes and dust which also irritate the bronchi.

For people who experience a lot of chest congestion, postural drainage twice per day can help assist in the removal of mucous from the lungs and air passages. First, apply a heat pack or hot water bottle for 20 minutes on the chest. Then postural drainage is performed by lying face down on the bed, whilst using your forearms as support and moving the top half of the body away from the bed so that the upper part of the body is facing the floor. Maintain this position for up to 15 minutes and have a bowl or newspaper on the floor to cough into.

Steam inhalations with essential oils of thyme, lemon myrtle, peppermint (do not use menthol – this will irritate the lungs) and pine may also assist with thinning mucous in the respiratory tract and alleviating cough and congestion. For individuals with eucalyptus trees in their backyard, a few sprigs tied together and hung from the shower head is an easy and cost effective way to achieve this. The heat and steam from the shower will release the beneficial essential oils from the leaves, which is then breathed in to exert an effect.

Spirometry is a test used to assess how well the lungs are functioning. It is a reliable and effective way to measure the lungs ability to move air in and out of the body with the use of a small device that can detect air volume. Individuals are asked to take a long deep breath and then exhale into the sensor for at least 6 seconds. At Saltuary, we are offering spirometry testing as a complimentary service to the community. If you are interested in having spirometry testing done, please call or come into Saltuary.

In health and happiness,

Amy