How can I prevent bronchitis?
October 22, 2004 11:45 AM   Subscribe

If you caught a cold this week
and hacked and sneezed and lacked some sleep
And when you talk you simply squeak —
How do you ward off bronchitis?

The question is how to improve my immune system's performance, not how to improve my rotten poetry :-)
I get sick every autumn. I'd rather not get bronchitis, as it took me out for two weeks last year. I'm in the coughing stage of the cold. How do I stop brochitis?
posted by Happydaz to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
Some people like zinc. Others prefer megadoses of Vitamin C.

Get plenty of rest, keep well hydrated, gargle with salt water, and make sure you always wash your hands.
posted by gramcracker at 11:50 AM on October 22, 2004

I get that autumn sickness too and I am also in the coughing and wheezy nose stage. The trick is to keep the crud from settling in your lungs and festering there, and also keeping yourself healthy enough to get rid of what you do have. I normally shy away from OTC drugs usually, but when I'm fending off something fierce, I'll take decongestants night and day just to keep snot levels down [and sometimes to help sleep]. I have an albuterol inhaler that I'll use before bed and whenever I'm feeling wheezy to keep air going in and out. Drink a crapload of water [but keep your salts up as well, gatorade or just salty snacks are a good companion] and also stuff like Emergen-C [any flavor] are my sickness drinks of choice. Get as much sleep as you can, absolutely quit smoking, and up your levels of fruits and veggies just as a general good guideline. I also find that going for walks, even though I can barely breathe, seems to help with morale in a getting-the-blood-moving sort of way.
posted by jessamyn at 11:58 AM on October 22, 2004

I'm a big fan of the zinc lozenges, which can lessen the severity and duration of a cold* if taken at the first sign of symptoms. Sounds like it's too late for you, but stock up for next time...

*supported by some clinical trials, but not by all; your mileage may vary; offer void where prohibited
posted by Galvatron at 12:25 PM on October 22, 2004

Lower your stress levels. Meditate, plan out your time, or take breaks, just keep calm. The ONLY thing that keeps me from getting my twice-a-year bronchitis is when I manage to keep my stress levels from going through the roof.
posted by stoneegg21 at 12:52 PM on October 22, 2004

A friend of mine (who is the research director of the emergency department at a major hospital) recommends 5000 mg of vitamin C on each morning you still feel like crap.
posted by nicwolff at 12:57 PM on October 22, 2004

Ecinacea? No one has mentioned ecinacea? The Trader Joe's ecinacea lozenges rock.
posted by namespan at 1:25 PM on October 22, 2004

If bronchitis sets in despite all the smart ideas above, try this homeopathic remedy, which you'll find at most natural foods stores. Doesn't matter whether you belive in homeopathy or not; the stuff just works.
posted by hsoltz at 2:10 PM on October 22, 2004 [1 favorite]

Echinacea has not been effectively shown to reduce duration or symptoms (some studies show mild alleviation of symptoms in double-blind clinical trials), but many show no benefit. Either way, please tell your doctor what herbals or supplements or vitamins you take, even if he or she doesn't ask--some can have serious drug interactions and toxicities!

Just to set the record straight--unless you're *incredibly* sick, or not eating at all, or have renal problems, or some other condition, your salts/electrolyte levels should stay just fine--that's the #1 job of your kidneys. It's very important to stay well hydrated, but your kidneys will just pee anything else out to keep your sodium and everything else well-balanced.
posted by gramcracker at 2:12 PM on October 22, 2004

Robitussin is an excellent phlegm-thinner, making it easier to clear out the airways.

Don't chow down too much zinc: it's hell on the guts when od'd.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:26 PM on October 22, 2004

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