There are two different types of bronchitis and understanding the difference is very important.
- Acute – acute bronchitis is the type that’s caused by a viral or bacterial infection in your body. Acute bronchitis typically lasts 1 to 2 weeks, but a lingering cough may last up to 90 days.
- Chronic – chronic bronchitis is most often caused by irritants, such as smoking or being exposed to secondhand smoke. To be diagnosed with chronic bronchitis you have to have bronchitis for at least 3 consecutive months for two consecutive years.
Supplements to help bronchitis symptoms
- N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), a form of the amino acid cysteine, helps thin and loosen mucus. Take one 600-milligram dose three times daily, between meals, until the bronchitis has cleared up. If you’re treating short-lived bronchitis, continue taking NAC for another few weeks after the cough goes away.
- Echinacea and astragalus are herbs that strengthen the immune system and help you fight off bacteria and viruses. Take 500 milligrams of either herb four times a day for acute bronchitis or twice daily for chronic bronchitis.
- R-lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant nutrient that is vital in the repair of inflamed airways. Like other antioxidants such as vitamins E and C, R-lipoic acid contributes to your health by counteracting the effects of harmful molecules called free radicals, which damage cells. Usually your body produces enough lipoic acid on its own, but when there’s inflammation, cells are under stress and need all the help they can get. Take 100 milligrams of R-lipoic acid three times daily with meals and eat foods that are high in antioxidants.
- A medicinal formula called Arcozon has potent antibacterial and immune-stimulating properties. It contains four herbs that have been traditionally used by healers in the Amazon rainforest: uña de gato (cat’s claw), pau d’arco, suma, and jatoba. You can use it to prevent or treat bronchial infections. Take one teaspoon or four capsules four times daily for short-lived bronchitis or twice daily for chronic bronchitis.
- To prevent chronic bronchitis, the most essential advice is: Don’t smoke. If you’re a smoker, find out about programs that will help you give it up.
- If your job exposes you to lots of dust, fumes or pollutants, any of which can contribute to chronic bronchitis—be sure you’re wearing the proper mask or respirator to filter the impurities from the air you breathe. Air pollution can also be a trigger, and it’s especially high in certain Canadian cities.
- To slash your risk of getting viral bronchitis, wash your hands frequently and keep them away from your face, especially when you’ve been around someone who has a cold. Clean your nose and sinuses with saline nasal spray. Or use a sinus-clearing over-the-counter medication recommended by your pharmacist. It should help prevent allergens and infectious agents from getting into your lungs.
- Vitamin C helps you fight off respiratory viruses. It works well in conjunction with supplemental flavonoids, also called bioflavonoids. Be sure to eat plenty of foods that are high in vitamin C. As a preventative measure, take up to 2,000 milligrams daily of vitamin C with flavonoids in divided doses. (With higher doses of vitamin C, some people get diarrhea.)