Stay chest healthy this winter

During winter, many South Africans experience colds, flu or respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis, but what exactly is this medical condition and can it pose a serious threat to your health?

According to Dr Steve Ponde from Netcare Waterfall City Hospital in Midrand, bronchitis is best described as the inflammation of the large and medium-sized airways, or bronchi, and is usually characterised by a cough.

“The condition usually resolves after a few days, or at most three weeks, and is usually not serious. People should seek treatment for any cough that is persistent or severe and which lasts for longer than three days.

“Bronchitis when not managed could develop into bronchopneumonia which can be life-threatening particularly in young children under two years of age, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems,” said Ponde.

As bronchitis is generally caused by viruses, it is not usually treated with antibiotics, however, antibiotics may be used in the very young, elderly or those with other chronic conditions to assist in reducing the risk of secondary pneumonia infections.

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Cough mixtures and bronchodilators, together with plenty of bed rest, are most commonly used to treat bronchitis.

“A child who has developed bronchitis should stay indoors, consume large amounts of liquid and be provided with small, frequent meals. Steam inhalations or a humidifier may also be helpful.”

South Africans can reduce their risk of developing bronchitis by avoiding exposure to others who have respiratory or other infections. “Should you develop a cold, treat it with care and make sure you get sufficient bed rest.”

 

Do you have a home remedy for chest infections? Let us know on Twitter @MidrandReporter

  AUTHOR
Staff Reporter

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