Viruses – typically the same viruses that cause colds and flu – cause acute bronchitis. It often develops from a cold, which results in inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes (which carry air to and from the lungs).
Symptoms of bronchitis
- Coughing – in acute bronchitis, the cough will often persist for weeks after the inflammation of the initial infection has resolved.
- Mucus production that can be clear, white or even yellow-green
- A ‘wet’ sound when breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain.
As with all viruses, bronchitis is treated symptomatically. Physiotherapy may help your child to cough up phlegm. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat a secondary infection (when mucus is green) or if a mucus culture reveals the presence of a bacterial infection. (Your doctor may send off a sample of your child’s mucus if these symptoms persist).
The natural approach
Applying a mild eucalyptus oil lotion to the back and chest will help to bronco-dilate the child and ease any coughing spasms. Never apply any lotions or ointments to the nasal passages of infants and small children, as you can unknowingly block the airflow into the air passages. Speak to your homeopath about natural remedies that help treat bronchitis like, Chamomilla, Antimonium Tart and Rumex Cripus.
When to seek professional help
The main complication of bronchitis is that it can develop into pneumonia. Your child may then require oxygen and intravenous antibiotics to treat it. Always consult your health practitioner if your child seems ‘floppy’, is constantly coughing, and has a high fever.
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