A cough, also known as pertussis, is a voluntary or involuntary and a common reflex action that clears mucus or foreign irritants from the throat. Coughing to clear the throat is usually a rare action, although several conditions can lead to more frequent coughing events. Depending on how long the cough lasts, it may be acute, subacute or chronic. An acute cough lasts for less than three weeks and is usually caused by common cold or other infections like sinusitis or pneumonia. A subacute cough lasts 3 to 8 weeks and remains after the initial cold or respiratory infection. A chronic cough caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), postnasal sinus infection or allergy, or chronic lung diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, and interstitial lung disease can last more than eight weeks. It can be a sign of a disease if somebody coughs a lot. Many coughs are caused by infectious diseases such as cold, but non- infectious causes also exist. In the next section, we look at some potential causes. However, if having continues coughing, you have to seek a physician for further treatment.
Types of Cough & Treatment
It is important to determine the cause in order to treat a cough. Different cough types show different causes. Your doctor will always ask what happens when you cough, how much you a cough every day and what color the sputum is.
#1 – Wet Cough
Excessive mucus is often caused by a cough that comes from the chest. This type of cough is sometimes referred to as an “a productive cough,” as the coughing in the chest removes mucus. Wet coughs sound wet because your body pushes mucus out of your breathing system, including your throat, nose, airways, and lungs. If you have a wet cough, you might feel that something is stuck in your throat or in your chest. Some of your coughs will cause mucus into your mouth. A wet cough is often caused by an infectious process: usually because of bronchitis, pneumonia or tuberculosis. A common cause is postnasal gout (that can follow a common cold). Cardiac failure with “fluid on the lungs” can also lead to a “wet cough”. The amount of what happens and when you a cough, is important to note when visiting your doctor.
Remedies for wet cough
Babies and toddlers. Treat a cool- mist moisturizer. In nasal passages, you can also use saline drops and clean the nose with a bulb syringe. Do not give over- the- counter (OTC) a cough or cold drugs to babies or young children under 2 years of age.
Children. A small clinical study found that 1.5 teaspoons of honey given half an hour before bedtime reduce a cough and improve sleep in children 1 and older. Use a moisturizer at night to moisturize the air and discuss OTC a cough and cold medications with your doctor before using them for treatment.
Adults. Adults can treat acute wet cough with OTC a cough and cold relieving medication or honey. If a cough lasts longer than three weeks, antibiotic treatment or other treatments may be necessary. If the patient reports cough irritation, clinicians can recommend guaifenesin- containing expectorant cough medication to help loosen the mucus for easier coughing.
#2 – Dry, tickling cough
This type of a cough occurs when the throat does not make enough mucus, leading to irritation of the throat. A dry cough is a cough with no mucus. It may feel like you’ve got a tickle in your throat that triggers your cough reflex and makes you hack a cough. Dry coughs are often hard to control and can occur in long fits. Dry coughs occur because your respiratory tract is inflamed or irritated, but there is no excess mucus to cough.
Remedies for a dry cough
Babies and toddlers. In babies and young children, the dry cough usually requires no treatment. A moisturizer can make them comfortable. Bring your child in a bathroom full of steam or outside in the cool night air to treat croup breathing.
Older children. A moisturizer helps to keep your respiratory system dry. Children older may also use cough drops to soothe sore throats. If your condition persists for more than three weeks, discuss other causes with your doctor. Your child may need medications for antibiotics, antihistamines or asthma.
Adults. There are many possible causes for chronic, long-lasting dry cough in adults. Tell your doctor about the symptoms of heartburn or pain. Antibiotics, antacids, asthma medications or other tests may be needed. Let your doctor know all the medications and supplements you are taking today. Clinicians can recommend a demulcent to coat the throat and reduce irritation in the upper airway. Water, hard candy, lemon, honey, menthol or simple syrup are acceptable demulcents.
#3 – A paroxysmal cough
A paroxysmal cough is a cough with violent, uncontrollable coughing and intermittent attacks. A paroxysmal cough is painful and exhausting. People are struggling to take a breath and vomit. Pertussis also referred to as whooping cough, is a bacterial infection causing severe coughing. The lungs release all the oxygen they have during whooping cough attacks, causing people to inhale violently with a “whoop” sound. Whooping cough initially shows mild, cold symptoms that snowball during a few weeks into severe coughing episodes. The severe phase of coughing also produces thick phlegm and is very contagious. Babies are at higher risk of a whooping cough and are faced with more serious complications. Whooping cough could be life-threatening for them. For those 2 months of age and older, the best way to prevent this disease is to get vaccinated.
Remedies for a paroxysmal cough
People of all ages need treatment with antibiotics for a whooping cough. Whooping cough is very contagious, so family members and caretakers should also be treated with whooping cough. The earlier you treat a whooping cough, the better the result.
#4 – A croup cough
Croup is a viral infection usually affecting children 5 years of age and younger. The croup causes irritation and swelling of the upper airway. Young children have narrower airways already. When the airway is narrowed further, it becomes difficult to respire. Croup causes a “barking” cough characteristic which sounds like a seal. Swelling in and around the voice box also causes raspy voices and squeaky noises of breath. Croup can be frightening for kids and parents. Children can breathe, make high noises during inhalation or breathe very quickly. In severe cases, children become bluish or pale.
Remedies for a croup cough
A croup cough usually goes without treatment on its own. Home remedies include: place a cool moisturizer in your bedroom and bring the child into a steam-filled bathroom for up to 10 minutes, take the child outside to breathe cool air and take the child for a ride in the car with partially open windows in the cooler air. Providing children with acetaminophen (Tylenol) for fever as directed by your pediatrician to ensure that your child drinks plenty of fluids and has plenty of rest in severe cases, children may need nebulized breathing or prescription steroids to reduce inflammation.
The best way to treat a cough caused by a viral infection is to allow the immune system to deal with it – these coughs usually clear themselves. If a doctor treats a cough, it focuses on the cause; for example, if it is caused by an ACE inhibitor, it can be stopped. Codeine, dextromethorphan and other cough suppressants are frequently used by a patient having a cough. There is, however, little research into cough medicines and how much symptoms can actually be reduced.
Cough suppressants— suppress the cough reflex and are usually prescribed only for a dry cough. Pholcodine, dextromethorphan, and antihistamines are examples of this.
Expectorants— this help to bring up mucus and other trachea, bronchi, and lungs materials. One example is guaifenesin( guaiphenesin), which thins the mucus and also lubricates the irritated respiratory tract. Cough expectorants can be bought online or over- the- counter.
Cough medications— some symptoms, such as fever or a stuffy nose, can help. There is no compelling evidence, however, that cough medicines are effective in increasing the speed of a cough. A range of cough medicines can be purchased online.
It is a good idea for small children to talk to a doctor before giving OTC cough medicine. Some ingredients in cough medicines, such as codeine, may be harmful to young children. There is no evidence that cough medicines help children and because of the side effects, they can actually be dangerous.
Factor of Coughing
- Clearing the throat
A cough is a standard form of throat clearing. When your airways get clogged with mucus or foreign particles like smoke or dust, a cough is a reflex reaction that tries to clear the particles and make respiration easier. This type of coughing is usually relatively uncommon, but coughing increases with the exposure to irritants like smoke.
- Viruses and bacteria
The most common cause of a cough is an infection of the respiratory tract, such as cold or flu. Infections of the respiratory tract are usually caused by a virus and can last for several days to a week. Flu infections can take a while to clear up and sometimes require antibiotics.
Another common cause of coughing is to smoke. A smoking cough is nearly always a chronic cough with a distinctive sound. It is often referred to as “smoker’s cough.”
Asthma is a common cause of coughing in young children. Asthmatic coughing typically involves wheezing and makes it easy to recognize. Exacerbations with asthma should be treated with an inhaler. Children can grow out of asthma as they get older.
Some medication can cause coughing but this is usually a rare side effect. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors can cause coughing, which is commonly used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease. Zestril (Lisinopril) and Vasotec (Enalapril) are two of the most common brands. When the medication is stopped, coughing stops.
- Other condition
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is another common condition that can cause a chronic cough. The stomach content flows back to the esophagus in this condition. This reversal stimulates a reflection in the trachea and causes the person to cough.