Bronchiectasis is a serious and incurable lung disorder in which the bronchi are irreversibly dilated generally as a result of an infection of the bronchial tree leading to obstruction of the bronchi. Causes of the infection include Whooping Cough, Pink Disease, pneumonia, measles, tuberculosis and cancer. As stated above, mercury is quite toxic to the lungs.
Because of the obstruction of the bronchi, lung secretions accumulate, become infected and weaken the walls of the bronchi which dilate. The disease usually starts in childhood but may not show itself until adulthood.
As well as coughing up copious quantities of lung secretions, the symptoms may include -
· low grade fever;
· cyanosis (bluish skin colour);
· a general deterioration of health with night sweats; and
· severe chronic bronchitis and asthma.
Treatment involves getting rid of the secretions which have accumulated in the dilated bronchi. This usually involves the use of antibiotics to prevent and/or treat infections and postural drainage, but in some instances, part of or all of the diseased lung is removed.
Postural drainage involves using the force of gravity as an aid to coughing up the lung secretions. Lying with the upper body over the edge of the bed helps the secretions drain into the trachea (windpipe) and be coughed up.
Sufferers should not smoke, should have a well-balanced diet and plenty of fresh air and be immunized against influenza.
A precautionary note for any sufferer who had Pink Disease or mercury poisoning or is sensitive to mercury - the preservative, thimerosal which contains mercury, is used in most influenza injections and it is therefore important that your doctor or chemist ensures that the influenza injection you are getting does not contain thimerosal.