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Beating the Cough: Effective Home Remedies for Cough

    Beating the Cough: Effective Home Remedies for Cough

    We’ve all had the cough before. As a symptom of many infectious diseases such as the common cold, the cough has become familiar to many of us. At times, it can be a sign of a more serious illness, but more often than not, we dismiss it as “just a cough.” Despite being a common symptom for everything from a sore throat to bronchitis, a cough should not be ignored. A doctor should be consulted if the cough persists. For mild cases, it can be helpful to know effective home remedies for cough.

    A cough is a reflex (like blinking or sneezing) that propels air out of your respiratory tract to get rid of irritants. According to research, a cough acts as the body’s natural respiratory defence system. If an irritant enters the body, it sends a stimulus to various nerve endings. This interaction is then processed by the brainstem, initiating a cough.

    Types of Cough

    An acute cough can last for a few days or up to two weeks. As treatment is often not required, it is good to know effective home remedies for cough to relieve any feelings of discomfort. But if the cough persists for more than three weeks, it is best to consult your doctor as it may need medical attention.

    Here’s all you need to know about the four types of cough:

    1. Wet Cough

    When fluid is blocking the airways, a wet cough occurs. Known as a productive cough, it produces an unusual amount of phlegm or mucus. At times, it may also cause breathing problems.

    A wet cough starts when viruses (usually cold or flu viruses) or bacteria cause infection in the respiratory system. Mucus production increases to keep the airway lining moist, as well as to protect the lungs from microbes. It also repels irritants to discourage infection.

    When someone suffers from a wet cough, “expectoration” or sputum production occurs.

    If a wet cough continues for more than three weeks, it’s best to consult a doctor. The doctor will check if the cough is caused by more serious illnesses such as:

    2. Dry Cough

    A dry cough is also called a non-productive cough due to the absence of mucus or phlegm. Dry coughing can be triggered by air contaminants such as smoke and dust that irritate the throat.

    A dry cough might go away on its own after a few days. If it does not get better within three weeks, you may have an acute dry cough, which usually comes with a cold. In the event that it worsens and lasts for more than eight weeks, it could be a chronic dry cough. This is often caused by smoking or asthma.

    At times, a dry cough is a symptom of a more serious illness. In such cases, a dry cough may be caused by any of the following:

    While these conditions are rare, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor if you have a chronic dry cough.

    3. Barky Cough

    A barky cough produces a tight, low-pitched barking sound, commonly described as a barking seal. Such coughs are caused by croup, a virus in the vocal cords and trachea that may cause swelling.

    Younger children are most susceptible to croup because their airways are small, making it hard to breathe.

    4. Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

    Pertussis is a transmissible disease caused by the pertussis bacteria. It infiltrates the bronchi and bronchioles causing soreness and tightness in the airways, leading to shortness of breath and a severe cough that makes a distinctive “whooping” sound.

    Whooping cough needs special medical assistance as it can spread from person to person if not treated right away.

    Cough Triggers

    Coughing can be stimulated by different causes. Some of them are temporary while others are life-long. Knowing cough triggers is the first step for figuring out effective home remedies for cough.

    Cough triggers include:

    • Viruses and bacteria

    A respiratory tract infection, such as the cold or the flu, is the most common cause of coughs. Infection from a flu or cold virus typically lasts a few days up to a week, but some tend to stay longer and may require medication.

    • Asthma and allergy

    Inhaling particles that may trigger asthma and allergy may cause coughing. It is the way your body gets rid of whatever is inside your system to prevent further harm. In such cases, asthma or allergy management is important. Home remedies for cough triggered by asthma and allergy involve removing allergens from your environment as well as your diet.

    • Irritants

    You may not have asthma or allergies, but inhaling certain substances can still make you cough. These include cigarette smoke or strong scents. A change of weather may also be an irritant.

    • Acid Reflux (GERD)

    Acid coming up the throat can irritate the air passages and cause a cough.

    • Postnasal drip

    Having colds means excess mucus from your sinus drips down your throat and triggers coughing.

    Cough Treatment: Home Remedies for Cough

    Treating cough is the best way to avoid making it worse. Treatments may vary according to the exact cause.

    Medication provided by your physician is most useful for curing illness. But if the cough is not serious, there are also ways to ease your coughing problem. Here are some effective home remedies for cough.

    • Stay hydrated.
    • Stack pillows under your head when sleeping. This is also effective if you suffer from postnasal drip or GERD.
    • Take cough drops.
    • Gargle with warm salt water concoction or with oral antiseptic.
    • Avoid cough triggers as much as possible.
    • Breathe in steam.
    • Put honey and ginger in your tea.
    • Use decongestant to unclog sinuses.
    • Take vitamins regularly. These can help to strengthen your immune system.

    Key Takeaway

    Cough is a common ailment that people frequently catch. You must be aware of its underlying causes, so that you may know what action to perform. In mild cases, you may look into effective home remedies for cough. Remember to seek medical attention when needed.

    Learn more about Infectious Diseases here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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    Written by Ruby Fernandez Updated Sep 09, 2021
    Fact Checked by Vincent Sales