Cough is a common illness that can be dry or filled with mucus. The causes include respiratory infections such as cold and flu, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease, or irritants. People with blood in their cough should immediately seek a doctor’s help.
Cough is the most commonly reported symptom in healthcare clinics. It can occur due to various causes. Notably, our body uses coughing as a protective mechanism to remove irritants from the upper and lower airways. Cough can be categorized as wet or dry and many types of cough can be relieved using different cough syrups, including dry cough syrup.
Types of Cough
Dry Cough: This develops when there is no or slight cough. The causes could be respiratory infections such as cold and flu. You might feel a ticklish sensation. It mostly goes away on its own. However, if it does not subside and become chronic, then you might be suffering form other conditions, such as:
● Asthma: You will see symptoms of tight chest, shortness of breath and wheezing.
● GERD: Gastroesophageal reflux disease can trigger the cough when the stomach acid travels up to the throat.
● Lung Cancer: People with blood in cough should see a doctor to check if lung cancer is causing it.
Treatment involves drinking water and taking a dry cough syrup to keep the throat hydrated.
Wet Cough: Wet cough is when you're coughing up mucus or phlegm. This type of cough feels heavy in the chest. It occurs primarily due to common cold, flu or chest infection. Keep an eye on your cough and visit a doctor if you find yourself coughing up blood and food. It may be severe.
Besides, wet cough could be chronic, as a result of:
● Bronchiectasis: It is when the body is unable to clear mucus pools in small pouches in lungs.
● Pneumonia: It happens when a bacterial infection causes inflammation of the tissue in lungs.
● Nontuberculous Mycobacteria Infection: It is not contagious and has symptoms such as tiredness, feeling unwell and weight loss.
The treatment for this type of cough is staying hydrated. You can also find relief from cough syrups. And, you may also need antibiotics if your cough is due to bacterial infection.
Whooping Cough: This type of cough is also known as pertussis and happens due to bacterial infection. It is contagious, and symptoms are flu-like, followed by a painful cough. People with weak immune systems may struggle to fight off the infection. And, if you're unvaccinated, then you may have higher chances of developing the condition.
Treatment involves taking antibiotics to decrease severe conditions. Whooping cough syrups also work.
Choking Cough: You may experience cough if something has partially blocked the airway. The body tries to get rid of the object through cough. Also, a person with an entirely blocked airway will not cough. In such cases, you should do a Heimlich maneuver or see a doctor.
Chronic Cough: This type of cough lasts longer, mostly eight weeks or more. A longer chronic cough may indicate an underlying disease such as allergies, smoking, lung disease or cancer. Please consult a doctor for proper diagnosis.
Coughing in Children: A child can get the same types of cough as adults. Some children may also develop croup, an inflammation of vocal cords and the windpipe. The sound of this cough is like a seal barking and painful. Flu and cold typically cause croup. You should seek medical advice if your child is having the following:
● Trouble breathing
● Turning bluish
● Severe chest pain
● Fever above 104 degrees
● Wheezing cough
This type of cough gets worse at night. To curb it, you should drink plenty of warm fluids and take rest.
Symptoms of Cough
There are various symptoms of cough, but ensure to see a doctor if it doesn't improve in a few days.
● Nasal congestion or a congested nose
● A sensation of mucus draining down the back of the throat (postnasal drip)
● Frequent throat clearing and a sore throat
● Hoarseness causes changes in the voice
● Wheezing and difficulty breathing
● Heartburn or experiencing a sour taste in the mouth
● Rare instances of coughing up blood
Causes of Cough
Various reasons can make you cough:
● Respiratory infections such as cold, flu, bronchitis, and pneumonia are common causes of more prolonged and severe cough.
● Allergies can trigger coughing as the body's immune response to allergens.
● Asthma, a chronic lung condition, can cause recurrent coughing.
● Smoking can irritate the airways and lead to persistent coughing.
● Exposure to environmental irritants like dust, pollutants, or strong odors can make you cough.
● Gastroesophageal reflux disease can cause stomach acid to flow back into the throat, resulting in cough.
Diagnosis of Cough
● The doctor will need your medical history to gather relevant information about cough. He/she might ask you about allergies or the surroundings you work in.
● A healthcare professional conducts a physical examination to assess the cause of cough.
● Your doctor may need additional tests such as X-rays or lung function tests for detailed information about the lungs and airways.
Treatment for Cough
● Home remedies (hydration, humidifiers, honey or herbal tea)
● Dry cough syrup, lozenges, other cough syrups
● Lifestyle changes (quitting smoking and avoiding irritants)
● Specific treatments for underlying conditions (antibiotics for bacterial infections and inhalers for asthma)
In conclusion, having a cough is nothing serious. It's the body's way of removing irritants from the airways. If you have other symptoms such as trouble breathing, chest pain or coughing up blood, then consult a doctor.