For a lot of people, a cough is generally not a severe health issue. This is mainly due to the fact that it's often associated with a common cold. With a bit of rest, a healthier diet, and over-the-counter medication, it goes away in a week or so.
However, medical professionals say that a cough should always be a serious concern. It is an indication that your body has irritants or some kind of infection which, if not taken care of immediately, can lead to complications and greater physical suffering.
And when it comes to remedying a cough, the first consideration is the kind of cough you have. It's crucial to acknowledge that a cough is often not just a cough; there are different kinds based on what is causing it. Getting a checkup with your doctor can reveal this vital information. Alternatively, you can read the guide provided below to help you identify what kind of cough you have.
First off, establish the characteristics of your cough by answering the following questions:
1. What are the circumstances when you cough the most?
2. What does it sound and feel like?
3. Is it phlegm-y or dry?
4. How long does your cough last?
5. What are the discomforts you feel when you cough?
6. How is your quality of life affected by the cough?
7. How long have you had a cough?
Your answers to this question will help you deduct to the set of reasons why you have a cough, as well as the changes you can make to alleviate it.
Classifications of Cough
There are two classifications of cough. You have acute, which is a short-term cough, and chronic, which can last for over two months. Under these two classifications are four different types of cough. You have dry, wet, paroxysmal, and croup.
A dry cough doesn't bring up mucus and it is often accompanied by difficulty breathing because you cough for a long time.
Typically, a dry cough is caused by an inflammation or irritation in your respiratory tract brought on by severe flu or laryngitis, tonsillitis, sinus infection, asthma, allergies, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. It can be quite tiring for the body not only because of the long coughing fits it creates, but also because it can last for many weeks.
There are several remedies for a dry cough. If it's a mild case, using a humidifier often can relieve the urge to cough. This is particularly effective for young children. However, if there is an infection, the doctor will recommend an antibiotic which will be paired with a dry cough formula.
If the cough is caused by an allergy, drinking lots of water and taking an antihistamine will do the job. Also, if the dry cough is causing other physical discomforts, perform a neck, chest, and back massage using a topical mentholated ointment to release tension and create a soothing sensation for the throat.
A wet cough, meanwhile, is phlegmy, which means it brings up mucus. This typically occurs as a side effect of a cold or a symptom of flu. It can also be caused by pneumonia, acute bronchitis, and post-nasal drip, which is something you need to have checked by a doctor.
The problem with a wet cough is that the mucus or phlegm can get very sticky. And when it's sticky, you can feel quite congested, and all you want to do is cough or sneeze to regain breathing comfort.
For a wet cough with very sticky phlegm, a cough expectorant is the best solution, especially for young kids. Drinking tea and taking more soups can help, too, especially if there is a little kick of spice to them.
A wet cough can last three weeks if it's acute, and over two months if it's chronic.
This is a type of cough that is not only exhausting but also painful to experience. Some people expel blood when they cough or even vomit. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection called pertussis, tuberculosis, asthma, pneumonia, and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
Serious complications can stem out of paroxysmal cough, which is why for pertussis, children get vaccinated for it. For other causes, the treatment is often a combination of antibiotics and cough syrup.
It's important to mention as well that paroxysmal cough is contagious. Therefore, proper hygiene is a definite must. Do not share dining utensils and food with other people and always wear a mouth cover.
Croup typically affects pre-schoolers and toddlers. It is a viral infection that irritates the upper airway and causes it to swell, making breathing difficult. The characteristic sound of croup is the barking cough sound, which causes a tired and scratchy voice as well as squeaky breathing.
The best remedy for croup is medicine, but using a humidifier, drinking plenty of liquids, and using a nebulizer can help significantly as well. To treat the inflammation, doctors often prescribe steroids.
Indeed, a cough is not to be taken lightly. With the guide provided here, you will be able to act accordingly to ensure your speedy recovery.