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SYMPTOMS—Coughing and mucous, pain in the chest (and possibly back), fever, sore throat, and
difficult breathing. Sudden chills and shaking may occur.

CAUSES—The bronchial tubes are the airways which lead into the lungs. The bronchi are two main
branches of the trachea. They divide into many smaller bronchi, like tree roots. These, in turn, divide off into the grape-like maze, called the lungs.

Bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchi, and is frequently complicated by mucous obstruction of those passageways. When the bronchi are badly infected, the cause is often viral rather than bacterial.
Irritating substances (or invading bacteria or viruses) cause the bronchi to produce an excess of mucous, which clogs the airways.

There are two types of bronchitis: acute and chronic. The acute very often occurs as infection in throat moves on down toward the lungs. A cold or the flu, if not immediately given careful treatment, can spread into other areas, such as the bronchi or the eustachian tubes. If bronchitis is not carefully dealt with, the infection will move on into the lungs, resulting in pneumonia.
Chronic bronchitis is an ongoing problem, which results from repeated bouts of acute bronchitis or from something that is frequently irritating the lungs. This can be allergies, especially tobacco smoke. The only ones who gain from tobacco are the manufacturers. Interestingly enough, only 9% of bronchitis patients in the U.S. are non-smokers. Infants exposed to cigarette smoke are far more likely to come down with bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis reduces the amount of oxygen to the lungs and the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled. This eventually can lead to enlargement of the heart; pulmonary hypertension; and finally, heart failure.

• Stop smoking and get tobacco out of the house. If you have chronic bronchitis, do not expect much improvement as long as tobacco smoke is in the home.
• Do not use milk; it produces a thick phlegm which complicates healing. White-flour products and sugar foods should not be used until bronchitis is past.
• Drink plenty of fluids: pure water, soups, and herb teas. Vitamin C is important! Take it to bowel tolerance.
• Anise tea and almond milk are helpful in bronchitis. Make the almond milk by blending 6 tbsp. of almonds in a pint of water.
• Cayenne and lobelia will help break up the congestion.
• Add moisture to the air with a vaporizer or humidifier or heat a pan of water on the stove.
• Remain in bed as long as fever is present. Bronchitis often hangs on because people think it is about over and begin going about their everyday duties. Go to bed and get well.
• Deep breathing exercises should be taken 3-4 times a day. Take a deep breath, hold it a few seconds, and exhale. Do this 10-20 times. This will help air out of the infected area.
• Breathe deep. Blow up a balloon several times every day. This helps open up and enlarge the airways.
• Apply a heating compress at night.
• A hot footbath will help pull the blood away from the chest and reduce congestion.
• Hot drinks help you cough out the phlegm. Coughing is the only way the phlegm can come out. Do not use cough suppressants while you have bronchitis.
• Apply warm, moist heat or a hot water bottle over the chest and back before bedtime.
This will help relieve congestion and aid in sleep.
• Avoid fatigue and chilling. Do not walk barefoot on cold floors while you are trying to
get well.
• If the coughing gets worse, there is a high fever, wheezing sounds, lethargy, and weakness. Chest pains develop and very difficult breathing. Contact a health professional; the condition may be developing into pneumonia.
• If the condition persists over too long a time, there is the possibility of tuberculosis or lung cancer.
• A professional can use bronchoscopy instruments to examine the bronchial tubes and suction out phlegm.
• In recent years, a new type of bronchitis has arisen, which is contracted primarily by women. Difficult to treat, it often continues for 3 weeks to 5 months. Drinking goldenseal tea is helpful with this condition, as well as with other types of bronchitis.
• Other helpful herbs include pau d'arco, chickweed, ginkgo biloba, burdock, lobelia, slippery elm bark, echinacea, and wild cherry bark.

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