Resting up when you’re sick can help you get better faster, and even have milder symptoms overall. And it can even help prevent follow up illnesses, like a head cold or sinus infection spiralling into bronchitis or pneumonia.
Here’s an important distinction a lot of people miss: bronchitis is, strictly speaking, an infection of the bronchial tubes. Similarly, pneumonia is an infection of the lungs (usually the alveoli/air sacs).
A lot of different pathogens can cause those infections, including the bacteria klebsiella pneumonia, which is even available in a scary antibiotic resistant form at your local hospital.
Do you see the distinction I’m making? Some people have a virus (causes most bronchitis cases) or a bacteria (causes most pneumonia cases) that is specifically attacking those respiratory airways, but a lot of other people have bronchitis or pneumonia as a secondary infection to a different disease—often an upper respiratory disease that spreads downwards.
How does it spread?
Often, through post-nasal drip. That’s when your runny nose is also running down your throat, and spreading germs to more parts of your respiratory system than just your nose/sinuses. (It’s especially common in asthma and allergy sufferers—one reason they’re more prone to bronchitis and pneumonia!).
Here’s where things get a little complicated: sometimes those germs just move into lung tissue and infect it. Other times, the mucus causes a blockage that creates another infection (usually bacterial).
People with weakened immune system are more prone to these infections. If you have a cold, your immune system is weaker while it fights it off. If you have another pre-existing condition, and the literature specifically calls out liver disease and certain medications (like for ulcers and reflux), as well as drinking, smoking, and old age, you’re even more at risk.
This is where preventative care really kicks in—even if you’re already sick. Being sick doesn’t mean the battle is lost—it’s something that happens, but it’s manageable. Resting, drinking clear fluids, and keeping your nose clear can help you manage symptoms and get better quicker than if you power through it at work, or lie down in defeat.
Rinsing your sinuses (or repeatedly flooding them if they’re super congested—certain types of mucus can be hard to dislodge) is one way to fight back. A lot of people (actors, people in smoggy cities, anyone prone to infections) do it as part of their daily self-care, just like brushing their teeth. Others just do it when they’re sick, or feeling like they’re getting there, to kick things out of their nose and sinuses.
Never ever use tap water to rinse your sinuses! Tap water isn’t sterile, and may even include a (rare but not rare enough) brain eating parasite. Ideally, use distilled water. But if you must, you can boil then cool tap water. Then add salt, and xylitol (it takes the sting out of the salt). Or make less work for yourself, and just use colloidal silver! You can use a neti pot or a nose bulb to get it in there. A nose bulb, colloidal silver, xylitol, and instructions are all available in our handy Sinus Flooding Kit!
You can also nebulize to help combat mucus. Again, you can shortcut and just use colloidal silver, or you can do-it-yourself. In this case, don’t use tap water even if you disinfect it by boiling/cooling. There are minerals in most tap water that make it less than ideal, and boiling won’t sterilize well enough (at least according to people who have been doing it longer than me!). Add salt (must NOT be iodized). How much is a bit of personal preference, but here’s a rough guide.
How do you fight off colds?