Bronchitis is simply inflammation of the cells lining the bronchial airways. Bronchitis affects males more often than females. Bronchitis can be due to an infection (viral or bacterial in origin) or the inhalation of smoke, dust, or any other irritating substance.
Acute bronchitis is caused primarily by viral infection, whereas cigarette smoking is the most common cause of chronic bronchitis.
If you have bronchitis, you know how troublesome and uncomfortable the cough is. If bronchitis is not properly treated, it can lead to pneumonia or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It would be good news if bronchitis could be prevented.
So can you prevent bronchitis?
Yes, there are easy steps you can take to prevent bronchitis. Try following the tips below:
- Stop smoking tobacco – The number one cause of bronchitis is smoking. The irritants in tobacco smoke enter your air ways and damage the cells lining your bronchi. This causes an inflammatory reaction, where the damaged cells swell and cause the airway to narrow. The body attempts to get rid of these irritants by coughing and producing more and more mucus. Therefore, if you stop smoking, you greatly reduce the risk of developing bronchitis.
- Get the flu shot – Another common cause of bronchitis is viral infections such as influenza A and B. You can help prevent this by getting yourself vaccinated against the influenza virus every year.
- Wash your hands regularly – As you know, infections are a common cause of bronchitis. Because our everyday surroundings contain millions upon millions of bacteria and viruses, it is important that you wash your hands regularly to reduce the risk of infection. Scrub your hands with soap for about 20 seconds and wash with warm water.
- Wear a mask – You can reduce exposure to irritants by wearing a mask when you are in a crowd or in a polluted environment.
- Rest – If you catch a cold, sufficient rest will help to resolve the condition quickly. Remember, an unresolved cold can easily progress to bronchitis.
- Take all of your medicine on time – Don’t give your cold or flu the opportunity to get worse. Take your medicine on time and cure yourself as quickly as possible.
- Healthy diet – Your immune system needs sufficient vitamins and minerals to effectively combat infection.
- Take vitamin C supplements – Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant and an important vitamin for staying healthy. If vitamin C supplements are taken daily, it can help reduce the length and severity of a cold or flu. In turn, this reduces the risk of developing bronchitis.
- Avoid touching your eyes and mouth – Viruses and bacteria love moist areas such as your eyes, nose, and mouth. Avoid touching these parts of your face to prevent the spread of infection.
- Avoid sick people - When someone with the flu coughs or sneezes near you, some of their germs can enter your body and make you sick. Try to avoid sick people when possible to reduce exposure to infectious bacteria and viruses.