Preventing bronchitis

Q: I have a friend who gets recurring bronchitis several times a year, and it hangs on for the longest time. Nothing the doctors give her really helps that much. What would you suggest as a preventative? If she gets it again, what would you suggest to help her get over it?

A:  Here are some concise recommendations:

  • Avoid cigarette smoke and other respiratory irritants.
  • Rest.
  • Drink at least 48 ounces of water daily.
  • Avoid sugar and dairy products.

Also, a number of supplements can speed recovery from bronchitis. One is the enzyme bromelain, at a dosage of 500-750 milligrams three times daily before meals. Vitamin C can also help. The usual dose is 500-1,000 mg. every waking hour or to bowel tolerance. (Diarrhea means you’re taking too much.) A high-potency multiple vitamin and mineral supplement can also be helpful.

When you’re battling bronchitis, it’s also important to clear the lungs and air passages of excess mucus. One way to do this is a twice-daily application of heat to the chest. Twenty minutes with a heating pad, hot water bottle or a mustard poultice will do the trick. A mustard poultice is made by mixing one part dry mustard with three parts flour and adding enough water to make a paste. The paste is then spread on thin cotton (an old pillowcase works well) or cheesecloth, folded, and then placed on the chest. It’s important to check often as the mustard can cause blisters if left on too long. After the hot pack, your friend should raise herself up on her forearms so that the top half of her body is off the bed. She’ll find it easier to cough in this position, which will help clear her lungs of excess mucus.

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