Bronchitis may be acute or chronic. In chronic cases, the disease is of long duration. It is more serious than the acute type, as permanent changes may have occurred in the lungs thereby interfering with their normal moments.
In most cases of bronchitis, the larynx, trachea and bronchial tubes are acutely inflamed. The tissues are swollen due to irritation. Large quantity of mucous is secreted and poured into the windpipe to protect the inflamed mucous membranes. There is usually a high fever, some difficulty in breathing and a deep chest cough. Other symptoms are hoarseness and pain in the chest. The breathing trouble continues till the inflammation subsides and mucous is removed.
The child-patient should be kept in a room with warm and even temperature. He should not be given any solid foods till the acute symptoms are present. He may be given plenty of fruit juices. Orange juice diluted with water will be especially beneficial. In case of constipation, the child-patient should be given warm-water enema to cleanse the bowels. If he shows reluctance, a glycerin suppository may be applied. Often this simple treatment is all that is needed for a mild attack. Steam inhalations will be valuable, if the wheezing is pronounced and particularly troublesome. A kettle of boiling water kept in the room for a while can moisten the atmosphere sufficiently to give relief.
After the acute symptoms are over, the child may be given milk, other liquid foods and fresh fruits for further one or two days and thereafter he may be allowed to gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet, according to his age. He should avoid meats, sugar, tea, coffee, condiments, pickles, refined and processed foods. He should also avoid soft drinks, candies, ice-cream and all products made from sugar and white flour.
Certain home remedies have been found useful in the treatment of bronchitis. One of the most effective of these is the use of turmeric powder. A quarter teaspoon of this powder should be administered with 30 ml. of milk two or three times daily. It acts best when taken on an empty stomach.
Another effective remedy for bronchitis is the mixture of dried ginger powder, pepper and long pepper taken in equal quantities of a quarter teaspoon three times a day with honey. The powder of these three ingredients have anti-pyretic qualities and are effective in dealing with fever accompanied with bronchitis. They also tone up the metabolism of the patient.
Onion has been used as a food remedy for centuries in bronchitis. It is said to possess expectorant properties. It liquefies phlegm and prevents its further formation. The intake of half a teaspoon of raw onion juice first thing in the morning will be beneficial in such cases.
A soup prepared from drumstick leaves is also highly beneficial in the treatment of bronchitis. This soup is prepared by adding a handful of leaves to 150 ml. of water which has been heated to a boiling point. The water is allowed to boil further for five minutes. It should then be removed from fire and allowed to cool. A little salt, pepper and lime juice may be added to this soup. This drink should be taken first thing every morning.
Hydrotherapy can be employed beneficially in the treatment of bronchitis. Hot towels wrung out and applied over the chest are helpful. Alter applying three hot towels in turn for two or three minutes each, one should always finish off with a cold towel. A wet pack or heating compress may also be applied to the upper chest several times daily in case of acute conditions. The procedure for this application has been explained in Appendix. In acute cases, full warm bath for 10 to 15 minutes will be beneficial. In irritable cough with expectoration, sipping very hot water, and gargling with hot water will be useful. In painful cough, hot fomentation should be applied to the chest and throat every two hours, followed by heating compress. Copious drinking of hot water will also be beneficial in both acute and chronic cases of bronchitis.
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