Cough Treatment

Overview

Cough occurs as a reflex action which clear your airways from mucus and irritants such as dust or smoke. There are two types of cough – productive and nonproductive. The former produces phlegm or mucus and clears it from the lungs. The latter also known as a dry cough doesn’t produce phlegm or mucus and occurs due to allergies or acid reflux.

Usually, coughs clear up in few weeks and don’t require any cough treatment. But for persistent cough, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor to know the underlying cause. 

What can cause a cough?

Dry cough causes include:

  • Upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) which affects the throat, airways or sinuses such as cold, flu or whooping cough
  • Lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) that affects lungs or lower windpipes such as acute bronchitis or pneumonia
  • Allergy which includes allergic rhinitis or hay fever
  • Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or chronic bronchitis
  • Gout:Caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in one’s joint. Mostly, this joint is either the big toe or some other part of the foot. Dry cough symptoms include; stiffness, discomfort, intense joint pain etc.
  • Smoke or dust inhalation
  • Bronchitis in which the lungs airways widen abnormally
  • Postnasal drip – mucus drips down the throat from the back of the nose caused by  rhinitis or sinusitis
  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease in which the throat becomes irritated by leaking stomach acid
Sometimes a continuous cough symptoms showing serious medical health condition such as lung cancer, heart failure or tuberculosis.

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When to see your GP

For mild cough that lasts for sometime there is no need to see your GP. However, you should seek medical advice if:

Cough medicines and remedies

Usually medicines to suppress cough are not recommended as they are not much effective and suitable for everyone.

Homemade remedies are much helpful and safe to use when it comes to cough and cold treatment. 

Treating the underlying cause

If the cough occurs due to some medical condition, then the treatment becomes important. For example:

  • Asthma treatment can be done inhaling steroids as it reduces inflammation in the airways
  • Allergy cough treatment
  • Bacterial infections treatment can be done with antibiotics
  • COPD can be treated with bronchodilators to expand windpipes
Quitting smoking also helps to improve your cough.

How can I get rid of it?

Dry cough treatment is bit difficult. As the airways become much sensitive, they can easily get irritated by coughing. You can follow certain measures that can help you to get relief, no matter what’s the cause of cough:

  • Try some throat lozenges to moisturize and soothe irritated throat tissue.
  • Take OTC cough tablets to suppress the cough
  • Drink honey in warm water to soothe irritated throat tissue.

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