Cough is an important reflex activity, which the body must eliminate substances which are irritating the air passages. A cough is usually initiated to clear that a buildup of phlegm in the trachea, by forceful expulsion of air at high speed away from the body. You can opt to cough (a voluntary procedure ), or our own body may cough on its own (an involuntary procedure ).
Cough can be of two types – acute and chronic. An acute cough is one that starts suddenly and is present for less than 3 months. They may be infectious (common cold, sinus, pneumonia), or non-infectious (asthma, bronchitis). Chronic coughs are present for at least 3 weeks. .
Some common causes of cough
The cause of a cough is usually based on where it’s originating from. However, the most common causes of a cough comprise:
- Allergies or asthma, chronic bronchitis
- Common upper respiratory tract infections, leading from the secretions of the nose and sinuses draining to the throat, like in cases of sinus infections, chronic postnasal drip, diseases of the external ear, infections of the throat
- Exposure to environmental pollutants like cigarette smoke, pollen, dust, pet dander, industrial compounds.
- Smoking in addition to exposure to second hand smoke.
- Side-effects of specific medications
- Chronic fluid build-up from the lungs.
- Blockage of the airway because of an inhaled object like food.
- Gastroesophageal reflux is also a very common cause of cough. This occurs when acid from the stomach travels up the esophagus, leading to the reflex production of a cough. This is frequently associated with a feeling of heartburn; and worsens during the day or when a person lies flat on the back.
Symptoms of Infection
The signs of a chronic cough can be difficult to assess, because most causes of chronic cough have overlapping symptoms and signs. Infact, a cough is an annoying symptom which can have many causes.
Frequent cough symptoms
- Shortness of breath, and coughing up pink, frothy mucus – possibly the cause is fluid retention in lungs
- Cough creates clear pale yellow mucus – due to viral infection, such as cold
- Cough produces yellowish or greenish mucus – trigger might be chronic pneumonia or bronchitis.
- If cough is associated with wheezing and shortness of breath – motive may be asthma.
- Fever, chills and night sweats together with chest pain when you cough – the cause could be tuberculosis
- If lung cancer or a cancer of the air passages is present, an individual may cough up blood. Other symptoms that may point towards a cancer include increasing tiredness, loss of appetite, unexplained loss of weight, or decreased ability to consume liquid or solid foods.
Coughs can be treated with cough drugs. Dry coughs are treated with cough suppressants that decrease the need to cough, while effective coughs (coughs that produce phlegm) are treated with expectorants that loosen mucus from the respiratory tract.
Antihistamines and decongestants are a fantastic alternative for treating coughs related to post nasal drip. If a underlying disease is causing the cough, then therapy should be based on treating the underlying disease.
A recent study suggests that, due to the existence of theobromine in chocolate, a bar of dark chocolate could be an effective remedy for a persistent cough.
Gargling with salt and warm water is also very helpful by cutting phlegm and reducing inflammation. Dissolve 1/2 tsp table salt in 1/2 cup warm water, and simmer every few hours.
Some Useful Home Remedies for Cough
Symptoms of cough usually subside by themselves with 7-10 days. However, lot of simple home remedies are there that provide relief from the discomfort associated with it.
- 1) Take three peppercorns, and add a pinch of black cumin seeds and rock salt and consume it.
- 2) Drink hot milk with honey for cough relief.
- 3) Make a decoction by boiling 50 g fresh ginger with 5 tbsp sugar in two glasses water for thirty minutes. Drink it warm, twice daily, in 1 day as this is extremely effective Home Remedy for Cough.
- 4) Mix powdered cinnamon, lemon juice and honey. Take two teaspoon twice per day.
- 5) In 1 cup of warm milk, then add a pinch of turmeric powder (Haldi) and drink twice daily.
- 6) Mix half a teaspoon of tulsi juice with half a teaspoon of ginger juice. Add 1 teaspoon of honey. Take the aforementioned mixture 2-3 times per day. This is also useful Home Remedy for Cough
- 7) Prepare a mix by adding 1/2 tsp honey with 1/2 tsp lemon juice and take it every 12 hours. Honey relieves the itchiness by moistening the throat passage.
- 8) Mix 8 – 10 tbsp of coconut milk with 1 tbsp poppy seed (roasted ) and one tablespoon of pure honey. Take this every evening before going to bed. This treatment is very great Home Remedy for Cough
- 9) Garlic-onion-chicken soup is a powerful remedy for cough. Take it steaming hot, to provide relief to irritation in throat.