The doctor at the after-hours care diagnosed me with acute bronchitis just about three weeks ago. I’ve been coughing a lot before going to the doctor until he prescribed some Cheratussin (Codeine and Guaifenesin) and an Albuterol metered dose inhaler to help with the breathing. However, I did not get better and rather, I gradually became worse. Therefore, I called the doctor and he prescribed some antibiotics (Azythromycin). After 5 days on that, alas, I did not get better. Then, I went to the after-hours care and was ultimately prescribed some Prednisone (steroids) which I think helped me breathe better; also, I was prescribed new doxycycline (antibiotics) for reasons I don’t know. So let me just share some ways to cope with bronchitis.
So, how am I feeling now? Well, I feel a lot better but I’m not at a 100% yet. I’m still coughing but not as bad anymore and I’m not wheezing anymore either. I’m getting better, I think.
Before I tell you how to cope with your bronchitis, let me tell you my symptoms first.
I was coughing violently with no mucus; my chest was tight sometimes. I was also coughing up “bronchial plug/cast” material; they were rubbery, sticky, and tough. Disgusting right? I would wheeze on inhalation/exhalation and even when I’m coughing. My back was hurting so bad from all the coughing and my energy just wasn’t there. My mood has gone down and I was very stressed about everything. To top it all off, it was final exams week in college!
So how do you cope with bronchitis?
I’m no expert but I would like to share with you how I coped with my symptoms. Coughing is terrible but it’s your body’s way of getting rid of whatever is inflaming or irritating your airways. However, it can be debilitating when all you do is cough! So here are some ways in which I tried to cope.
I have been drinking water like no other! I’ve been going to the bathroom every hour, it seems and I think it really was helping. It’s suppose to thin out any mucus you have and help with irritation. I do not drink cold water and neither should you when you have bronchitis. Just keep hydrating and you should feel some relief.
My bronchitis got really bad and I could barely sleep. My cough got worse at night. I could also hear myself wheezing which made me more anxious to sleep. However, sleep and rest is very important and I tried the best I could.
If you cannot sleep due to coughing, discomfort, or anxiety; just try to rest. Try not to do too much and stress yourself. Your body is saying, “Slow down! We gotta do some stuff in here to make you better!” So try to be in bed or on the couch as much as you can. I know it can be difficult for some and you might feel helpless but just try to stay home!
For three nights that I was at my worst, I had to take Ambien (zolpidem) just to sleep. I’m not saying that you should too but if you really can’t sleep, you may ask your doctor about it!
#3 Soothing hot/warm drinks
It’s always a good idea to drink some tea and honey. Honey seems to be a good cough suppressant but it also does wonders soothing your throat. Also, I suggest drinking ginger tea with honey.
As I write this, I’m drinking tea right now. It seems to help with the urge to cough.
#4 Cough Suppressants
If you are coughing up mucus, I don’t think you should take any cough suppressants. You want that mucus to leave your system as soon as possible. So if you’re having productive cough, use expectorants like Mucinex/guaifenesin.
However, when trying to sleep at night, your cough may really be bothersome. I’ve had good results with Delsym (dextrometorphan) as it usually does the job. But since my inflammation was just getting worse, the doctor finally had to prescribe codeine cough syrup to help with the cough. Codeine makes you feel a little drowsy and does a good job limiting your coughs.
Try to only use these suppressants at night or when you really need it. For instance, take some before presentations or meetings.
#5 Steam and humidity
If your throat and bronchial passages are irritated, you may benefit from some steaming and humidity. Taking a hot shower with the exhaust fan off helps you breathe better. Also, try to use a steaming vaporizer or humidifier when you’re just in your bedroom. It helps you cope with bronchitis and it does make a difference even if it’s only temporary.
Make sure you clean your humidifier and put clean water in these devices. You don’t want to make your condition worse with all the allergens and mold your dirty humidifier can make.
#6 Try not to stress out!
Stress causes our immune system to drop. Also stress makes us wallow in our misery. Sometimes, it can get very difficult to avoid stress especially if you’re trying to cope with bronchitis. I suggest keeping your mind off of it and you might find yourself coughing a little less.
Try to read a book, watch television, listen to music, and whatever else that may relax you. Doing so will keep your mind off of coughing, wheezing, and whatever symptoms you may have. At least for the time being.
Just think that your coughs and discomfort are temporary. It may be a long battle but you’re strong and you can cope with bronchitis!
#7 Avoid the cold, keep warm
Try not to go outdoors too much. Sometimes, the cold weather can dry us out or it can irritate your throat and airways. Keep warm. Keep sipping on that tea!
#8 Visit the doctor
Bronchitis as they say, usually goes away on its own but it may take a while. However, if your bronchitis is not getting any better and you feel debilitated by it, try to see your physician. I had telephone appointments and urgent care visits just because I couldn’t breathe!
The doctor may prescribe you an inhaler which will help with the wheezing and chest tightness. They may also prescribe you antibiotics if they suspect that your bronchitis is bacterial. If your bronchitis has not improved in three weeks and you’ve tried everything, the doctor may also prescribe you Prednisone or any other corticosteroid to help with the inflammation and help you feel better.
Trust your doctor on his recommendations, advice, and prescriptions.
So that’s how I cope with bronchitis
There are many more resources online on this subject but I wanted to put my personal opinion on this. I suggest that you still see your doctor if your cough has been persistent and not improving. However, trust that your body will take care of your symptoms. The body is magical and smart; it knows how to protect itself. But sometimes, the way the body protects itself is uncomfortable, debilitating, and painful.
Now I’m just so ready to enjoy the holidays, seize the day, and do some photography and blogging.
What do you suggest for bronchitis? Do you have any hacks when you are trying to cope with bronchitis? Please let me know by leaving a comment below!