A cough indicates a minor or a major problem with your respiratory system. Irritation, mucus accumulation and difficulties in breathing can result in coughing. Infections like pneumonia, tuberculosis or bronchitis, allergies(asthma) or gastro intestinal reflux diseases can cause coughing. Whether acute or mild, it is generally good medical advice to receive treatment.
The main treatment regimens for coughs include:
- Corticosteroids for asthmatics
A characteristic or symptom of asthma attacks is coughing in the mornings and evenings or when sleeping. Once your doctor determines that you are indeed asthmatic, they can prescribe decongestants and corticosteroids to help manage your situation.
- Avoiding irritants
A cough could be your body’s reaction to an irritant. You should isolate the causative agent then avoid it as much as possible. Smoke, dust or pollen could stimulate the mast cells in the airways to produce a lot of mucus and this could cause the coughing. You should therefore, stay in clean environments and even wearing gas masks when you have to go into areas with irritants.
You’ve probably heard this from your parents, friends and doctors. Drink a lot of fluids. It is a true adage and helps in managing coughing. Fluids soothe your throat and also thin out the mucus. It also helps with dry coughs because the water will soothe your airways preventing further irritations and complications. Lemon juice and/or water with honey will also help in treating your cough.
- Try steam treatment
Steam inhalation is a good form of cough treatment. The steam will moisten your nasal passages and also loosen mucous secretions. The warm air in the nose and throat helps in decongesting. Adding herbs like peppermint increases the decongestive activity of the warm air, thus clearing air passages and soothing your throat if irritated.
- Use of cough expectorants and suppressants
Cough reflex in dry cough is treated using cough expectorants/suppressants. The mucus is thinned and the phlegm is easily coughed up after the treatment. This is an effective cough treatment that will be prescribed by your doctor or pharmacist.
This is effective treatment for a sore throat and irritating coughs. The lozenges increase saliva production softening the lining of the throat. This reduces the itchiness and the coughing.
- Use of decongestants
They lessen mucus production and also reduce nasal passage swelling. Whether you take it as a pill, a nasal spray or as a liquid, coughing and discomfort will reduce.
A humidifier is a good home remedy especially when you or your household experiences a lot of coughing. This helps in moistening the air you breathe through your nose and throat to the lungs. The moist air results in soothed air passages and reduced coughing.
- Quit smoking
Smoking is a poor/bad habit. This is because the gases and smoke released during smoking get into your lungs causing irritation. This results in persistent coughs that could get severely chronic. Smoking also increases your risk to contracting bronchitis and pneumonia. Therefore, you should give quitting a try to manage and get rid of coughing.
- Reduce foods/ drinks that increase stomach acids
The stomach acids will flow back into your esophagus causing irritation and coughing. Taking foods with low acidity or resultant acidity will reduce coughing.
In conclusion, coughs are manageable but you should seek medical attention to avoid infecting others with diseases like TB. Otherwise, all these remedies are invaluable and will make you feel better faster. You may also consider healthy soup options.
Ty Pennington Jr. is an RTI specialist with leading hospitals and contributions with the CDC. You can learn more about the causes of coughs, and diseases associated with coughing on http://www.breathefree.com/.