With the 4-fold power of ivy against coughing due to bronchitis

The common cold / Acute bronchitis

In response to a viral attack, the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract become inflamed. As the mucous membranes of the upper and lower respiratory tract are very similar in terms of their construction, a common cold – i.e. an infection of the upper respiratory tract – can easily migrate to the bronchi.

In a bronchial inflammation, messenger substances are released which act as chemical stimuli. This is also often accompanied by increased mucus formation, which is an automatic stimulus. The cilia no longer manage to expel the mucus. Finely tuned sensors (receptors) in our mucous membranes detect these different stimuli and send signals to the cough centre in our brain, triggering the reflex: we start coughing.  This can eventually result in a spasm of the bronchial musculature.

By constricting the muscles in combination with coughing, the body tries to expel the mucus. It becomes difficult to breathe. And coughing is not the only problem: the condition is also often accompanied by difficulties with swallowing, headaches, and a runny nose.

Coughing due to a common cold – in brief

Coughing due to a common cold – in brief

1st phase:
2–3 days of dry, unproductive coughing due to irritation and/or inflammation of the mucous membranes

2nd phase:
Up to 14 days of mucus-forming, productive coughing

3rd phase:
In the healing phase, which can take as long as 8 weeks, the patient continues to suffer from a mostly dry cough

Chronic bronchitis / Chronic obstructive bronchitis – continuous coughing with consequences

Chronic bronchitis is a long-term disease of the respiratory tract. Coughing does not stop when the patient recovers from a common cold or after the usual two-week period. Typical symptoms include frequent coughing with whitish, sticky mucus, which is expelled in large quantities, especially in the morning.

The primary cause of chronic bronchitis is smoking. But bacteria (Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae) can also cause chronic bronchitis. The same holds true if the airways are exposed to dust, gases and vapours for extended periods of time, as is the case for some workers. With chronic bronchitis, the mucous membranes of the bronchi thicken.

More secretion – i.e. mucus – is formed. In producing this mucus, the body is trying to counteract the contamination (by cigarette smoke, bacteria or dust) and to rid itself of the intruders. At the same time, however, continuous irritation disables the cilia (microscopic hairs) which are supposed to carry away the mucus. Over the long term, they are completely destroyed.

The bronchi are now permanently inflamed. This has devastating consequences: the wall of the bronchi becomes thin and unstable. If strong exhalation occurs, the bronchi collapse. This renders breathing difficult. The case of chronic bronchitis has now become a case of chronic obstructive bronchitis (COPD).

Chronic bronchitis – in brief

Chronic bronchitis – in brief

  • Caused by continuous irritation of the bronchi (e.g. smoke)
  • Bronchi suffer continuous inflammation and damage
  • Cilia are destroyed
  • Slimy, sticky, glassy sputum
  • Must definitely be treated. Over the long term, bronchitis can cause the airways to narrow permanently

Asthma / Bronchial asthma – when there’s not enough air

In people who suffer from asthma, the bronchi overreact to stimuli which are inhaled with the air. In the case of allergic asthma, those stimuli are allergens such as animal hair, dust mites or pollen. Asthma has many causes:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Allergies
  • Psychosomatic disorders

During an asthma attack, the airways narrow. The person affected experiences a very sudden difficulty in breathing and a fear of suffocation. The attack can be accompanied by noisy breathing, coughing, expectoration and feelings of constriction and pressure in the chest cavity. People with asthmatic diseases should always be under medical care.

When there’s not enough air

When there’s not enough air

In this case, it is important that a doctor initiates an asthma-specific therapy early on and that the person affected follows that therapy. When children are involved, the disease and the therapy often cause stress for parents and children – and as a result, they might not follow the therapy adequately. The reasons for this include fear of the complicated therapy, for example, or the difficulty of taking medications – but also the unpleasant taste.

Lung inflammation – danger! (Pneumonia)

Every year over 100,000 people catch pneumonia in Germany: that makes it the country’s most common infectious disease. The severity and duration depend on the pathogen and the patient’s constitution. In general, however, it can be said that bacteria-related pneumonias strike the hardest. Inflammation of the lungs should be treated by a doctor.

When the immune system is weakened, the danger of catching pneumonia is high. In most cases (70%), it is triggered by bacteria, or less often by viruses or fungi. These pathogens penetrate the airways and cause inflammation there.
As the body’s own defences are weakened, the inflammation spreads to the alveoli. That means that respiration is impaired. Less oxygen makes it into the body, and not enough CO2 can be exhaled. This creates a life-threatening situation!
Pneumonia is usually accompanied by fever, shivering and chest pains. The coughing is heavy and expels sputum: first reddish brown, later yellowish green.

Pneumonia – in brief

Pneumonia – in brief

  • Usually caused by bacteria
  • Can develop from bronchitis
  • Inflammation of the mucous membranes spreads to the alveoli
  • Accompanied by high fever
  • Cough therapy appears ineffective

Whooping cough – not only a children’s disease (pertussis)

Whooping cough is a bacterial infectious disease which is highly contagious and therefore must be reported. It is caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria.

These are transmitted by droplet infection and multiply in the respiratory tract. There they release a poison which triggers the coughing and causes the other symptoms of the disease. The incubation period, i.e. the amount of time between infection and the appearance of the first symptoms, can take 7 to 20 days!

Whooping cough – in brief

Whooping cough – in brief

  • Highly contagious infectious disease
  • Occurs in 3 phases
  • Staccato-like coughing fits which can lead to vomiting
  • Sticky, glassy sputum

Croup (laryngitis subglottica)

Croup is an inflammation of the larynx that is caused by a viral infection (rhinoviruses, adenoviruses or respiratory syncytial viruses). In most cases, croup is accompanied by a feverish cold.

The disease occurs frequently in the winter and primarily affects children between the age of nine months and five years because their larynx is still very narrow. The mucous membrane in the area of the larynx and the vocal chords is inflamed. The inflammation swells the mucous membrane, causing the airways to narrow. The body reacts with a very dry, barking cough, which usually occurs at night and very suddenly. This cough is usually accompanied by abnormal whistling sounds (stridor) while inhaling.

Croup – cause for concern?

Croup – cause for concern?

In most cases the illness causes no harm, but the sensation of difficult breathing can be very frightening for a child. Since a dangerous epiglottis inflammation can also cause these symptoms, a doctor’s visit is also absolutely necessary here.

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