What Is Cough?
A cough is a very disturbing and distressing thing to have. It takes you off your tracks. It inhibits your ability to properly do your work and keeps your trouble. Colds and flu are caused hacking coughs, but it’s not just these two that cause cold, there are a lot of other things that can be responsible for your cough, for instance allergies, dust, asthma, gastro esophageal reflux and smoking. Even certain medications can cause cough as a side effect.
Most of the times people can get rid of their cough at home by taking cough lozenges, removing the allergens from the air, avoiding smoking and many such remedies. Let take a look at some ways that can help us in not going to a doctor for a cough.
Types Of Cough:
There are various types of cough which are categorized according to their symptoms and characteristics. However, there are two main types of cough.
- Dry Cough
- Wet Cough
Sputum and phlegm is not produced in dry cough. It can further be divided into three types; hacking cough (found with infections which are mostly viral and not bacterial and are linked to throat and nose. In this type, you may feel something stuck in the throat. Another trait of dry cough is the continuous, non-stop coughing.
Croup or barking cough:
Laryngitis is mostly effected by this kind of cough which happens due to swelling and infection in larynx. Patient feels pain during coughing and experiences problem in inhaling and exhaling.
Dry or whooping cough:
Whooping or dry cough is associated with infection caused by bacteria. But fortunately we have its vaccine and it is curable. However, infants and children under 10 years are on a common hit list by this bacteria. Main qualities of this kind is continuous cough with the sound of whooping. It is always accompanied with problematic breathing specially in inhaling.
Unlike dry cough, there is a lot of production of sputum. This phlegm is created because of asthma, bronchitis, lung cancer or pneumonia.
What causes a Cough:
Cough is easy to treat when it is diagnosed properly which is only possible is causes of the cough attacks are monitored in the professional manner by the expert ENT and specialized doctor. Since there are two types of coughs which may bring changes in a person’s body, we will deal with each kind separately.
When the infection persists for long and is not treated at the right stage, it becomes the root cause of many trivial diseases. However what really goes wrong is due to the virus which hits the respiratory track. So, the foremost thing to deal with is not anything but the infection caused by virus which includes following:
- This virus does not only affect windpipe and throat but also becomes the cause of sinus which further offshoots into diseases like whooping cough, common cold, influenza, flu, etc.
- Another cause of cough is due to infection in the lower breathing tract. This infection affects the air passages in the lower windpipe.
- Chronic cough is usually caused in adults because of asthma which is based on long term, some allergies (dust and smoke), etc.
How To Get Rid Of Cough?
Cough can be treated by taking following measures:
1. Opt for Lozenges and hot drinks:
Lozenges and hot drinks have a soothing effect on the throat. For instance, a menthol cough drop would numb the back of your throat, thus inhibiting the exaggeration of cough impulse.
Warm tea when drank with honey, can also soothe the throat and there is plenty of clinical evidence that supports this claim.
2. Have some steamy shower and make use of humidifier:
Taking a hot shower has the role of softening, thinning and loosening the secretions in your nose. This strategy can be made use of against coughs not only from a cold or flu, but also for coughs related to asthma and allergies.
Air humidifiers are a good tool to overcome a cough. In a dry season, the air dries out and it causes the nasal secretions to dry out and cause you discomfort. Getting that moisture back into the air can really help your cough. One must take care not to overdo the air humidification.
There is, however a downside to the use of a humidifier. If you don’t clean it regularly, it can accumulate in it many fungi and microbes. Now turning it on would lead to a direct spray of these harmful agents into the air. Try to clean the humidifiers regularly in case you use them.
3. Swipe your environment clear of all the irritants:
We may normally find perfumes and scented bathroom sprays offensive, but these can be very problematic to certain people who are allergic to these. These lead to sinus irritation with resultant sinusitis and extra mucus production that gives rise to cough. Such scented products should better be avoided.
Smoke is a very irritating substance and harbors in its many harmful chemicals that in addition to being irritating also have carcinogenic properties at times. The smoke produced by a smoker is also a great health hazard. While it may not seem injurious to the smoker, everyone around him gets disturbed and can suffer from smoker’s cough. It is also harmful for the smoker himself.
To overcome this disturbance, one must stop smoking as chronic cough in a smoker is a sign of obstructive airway diseases like emphysema and bronchitis. It can also signify lung cancer and a doctor’s advice should be sought by a person who has a chronic cough associated with smoking.
4. Take medications for cough:
When having showers, drinking hot teas and lozenges don’t help your cause, it’s time you switch to over the counter medications for your cough.
Decongestant nasal drops and oral nasal decongestants alleviate the situation by reducing the inflammation of the airways and suppressing that excess mucus production in the airways. They also dry out the mucus in the lungs thus opening up the airways.
Decongestants are available in the form of pills, liquids and nasal puffs. When going for one, look for phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine as the active ingredient in the decongestant. Care must be taken with these drugs as they have certain side effects as well. Overusing the decongestants can cause excessive dryness and make one prone to having a dry cough. People who are hypertensive should be careful using decongestants as they can raise their blood pressure and aggravate their condition when used excessively.
Decongestant nasal sprays should not be used for more than 3 to 4 days consecutively as they may promote rebound congestion of the nasal passages. The patients may also develop tolerance against the overuse of nasal sprays causing them to be ineffective.
If you are experiencing a bad cough so much so that excessive coughing is now causing chest pain, then you should use an antitussive or cough suppressants like dextromethorphan. Preferably one should take a cough syrup only at night.
A caution for children here is that the FDA has advised against giving children under the age of 4 years, medications for their cough and cold. These over the counter drugs may have serious implications in children so care should be taken.
5. Get rid of the fomites:
Fomites like carpets and fluffy and furry cushions harbor a lot of dust on them and while sleeping on them or having close contact with them allows the dust to go into our air passages. These fomites are responsible for many reactive airway diseases and even asthma.
Also, some people have allergy to furry pets. Getting rid of them could also help your cause and treat the cough.
So if you have a cough and you are distressed by it, it is advisable that you adopt the above remedies at home. It will not only cure the problem, but also prevent that ever so annoying visit to the doctor. However, one must keep in mind that if adopting these remedies is not providing the cure, a doctor’s visit is called for.