What is Reactive Airway Disease?

Reactive Airway DiseaseThe respiratory disorder which is characterized by coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath is referred to as reactive airway disease. As the symptoms of this condition and asthma are alike, people always confuse it to be asthma. However, reactive airway disorder is different from asthma. In fact the symptoms of reactive airway disease come and go, while asthma symptoms are ongoing. It has been observed that nearly 30% of children suffering from this condition develop asthma in later stages of their lives.

Causes of Reactive Airway Disease:

Following are some of the causes of reactive airway disease:

  • Usually it is caused by a cold virus.
  • If respiratory tract becomes swollen and inflamed and excess secretion of mucus may trigger reactive airway disease. In turn, this results in production of septum.

Other causes of reactive airway disorder include:

  • Excretion
  • Stress
  • Strong odor or perfume
  • Pollen
  • Burning wood smoke
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Changes in weather
  • Mildew
  • Dust

Symptoms of Reactive Airway Disease:

Following are the symptoms of reactive airway disease:

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Chest retractions
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Dry cough
  • Flaring of nostrils
  • Swelling of respiratory tract
  • Inflammation

Treatments for Reactive Airway Disease:

Health care provider first conducts a few tests to find whether the signs occurred are due to asthma or reactive airway disease. Bronchial challenge test and pulmonary function helps in diagnosing the condition. These tests are performed only on adults and thus not suggested for children. Following are some of the treatments for reactive airway disorder.


Certain medications are available which are effective in reducing the episodes of this condition. Leukotriene inhibitors and bronchodilators are the most important among the medications. Bronchodilators open up the bronchial passages such that air can move easily. Leukotriene inhibitors suppress leukotriene function. This leukotriene substance is produced by our body. This substance causes difficulty in swallowing and narrowing of bronchial passages. These medications are taken orally.


In extreme cases of shortness of breath, oxygen is provided with the help of an oxygen mask. Most of the patients suffering from reactive airway disorder get relief from oxygen therapy even though they do not suffer from shortness of breath. This is so because oxygen acts like a mild bronchodilator.


These are prescribed by the doctors to fight against the body inflammation. In the initial stages, doctors prefer to use steroids. Both parental administration and oral administration are equally effective to treat reactive airway disorder in adults and also in children.

Home Remedies for Reactive Airway Disease:

Below are some of the effective remedies for reactive airway disease:

  • Combine a tablespoon each of cinnamon powder and honey and mix them well. Before going to bed, take this mixture every day. This is a great remedy for this condition.
  • Take dry grapes and soak them in warm milk for an hour. Consume them to avoid this health condition. This remedy must be followed for every two days. This helps in curing this condition.
  • Add a pinch of turmeric powder to a tablespoon of honey. Consume it on an empty stomach in the early morning.
  • Take 8 – 10 garlic cloves and boil them in a glass of milk for 5 minutes. Let it cool and drink it before going to bed.
  • Take a cup of water and soak a tablespoon of fenugreek seeds in it for 8 – 10 hours. Have it for treating and preventing reactive airway disease.

Reactive airway disease is not contagious and is caused by aerial pollutants. It can be treated completely, but it is best to prevent its development. Stay away from chemicals and pollutants as much as possible. Consult the health care provider regularly to check your health condition.

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