A Cold That Did Not Turn Into Bronchitis

For the first time in over a decade, I was able to fight off a cold without it turning into bronchitis.

February always brings on some type of serious illness for me. Bronchitis, sinus infection, or flu, along with an asthma flare that requires oral steroids. I had my fingers crossed that wouldn’t happen this year, and was doing all I could to stay healthy.

A sense of dread came over me when I woke up with a scratchy throat. That night driving home from work I could barely keep my eyes open. I was in bed by 6:30 pm. This was it, the start of bronchitis and flare up that would probably land me in the emergency room. A dry cough, sore throat, laryngitis and asthma symptoms.

Trying OTC medications

Over the counter medications (OTC) and self-management techniques have never helped me, but that has never stopped me from trying. Let’s face it, we already spend way too much time visiting our doctors, getting tested, poked and prodded. The last thing we want is to seek medical attention when we feel so sick.

Even though I knew it would be a useless exercise, I went to the pharmacy and purchased over the counter medications. Surely I was wasting my money, and more importantly, putting off the inevitable visit to the doctor. I loaded up on a decongestant, cough syrup, sore throat lozenges, and vitamin C packets.

My cold didn't get worse

That night I loaded up on vitamin C, decongestant and cough syrup. I broke out my nebulizer and had an albuterol treatment. The next morning I felt pretty yucky but good enough to work a few hours from home. I continued to take the OTC meds and nebulizer treatments twice a day, and drink my homemade chicken broth and nap. The next day I didn’t feel better but didn’t feel worse. That felt like a little victory! Over the next three days, I started to feel better. All of my symptoms were gone except for my laryngitis, thanks to my vocal cord dysfunction.

This was the first time I was able to fight off my illness on my own, and without antibiotics or oral steroids. Now I know that correlation is not causation, so I can’t say for sure if my ‘OTC get healthy plan’ really worked, versus maybe I just wasn’t as sick as I have been in the past. For instance, I didn’t have a fever or the chills.

What contributed to my success?

  • Getting my flu shot early (for the sixth year in a row) helped. This vaccine builds up antibodies that help reduce the severity and length of my symptoms.
  • Lots of vitamin C.  One vitamin C packet with my first glass of water in the morning and with dinner, along with a few oranges throughout the day.
  • I allowed myself to rest instead of pushing through. It’s hard when we have work and family commitments that need to be met, but sometimes self-care needs to come first.
  • Using my nebulizer twice a day to deliver my rescue medication. Since the nebulizer ensures all of the medication gets into my lungs, this was a better choice than my inhaler.
  • Drinking homemade chicken bone broth with ginger and turmeric, all ingredients believed to reduce inflammation, help shorten illness and provide general comfort. Drinking broth helped me stay hydrated and provided healthy nutrition.
  • Taking over the counter meds as recommended, without missing a dose.

I was shocked but mostly grateful that I was able to improve without oral steroids. How about you? Have you ever had success managing a cold with over the counter medications? Let us know in the comments!

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