Types of Cough
Cough can be classified on the basis of the duration for which they last and also the content of the sputum they produce.
Duration of Cough
A cough can come and go quickly or it can last for several days if you have a cold, or it can be persistent and chronic, as in the case of chronic bronchitis.
Based on this, there are two types, the dry cough or the cough where the sputum lining the respiratory passage comes out and the wet cough.
Coughing being mostly involuntary can also be voluntary. In addition, some people cough more often than others because individuals vary in the amount of irritation they can tolerate.
Symptoms of Cough
The main symptom is involuntary coughing. It could be accompanied by other symptoms like fever, difficulty in swallowing, throat ache, pain in the ribs etc. More important than the cough itself, are aspects of it that provide clues to its causes:
- Frequency and duration of the cough.
- Type of material being coughed up (mucus or phlegm, blood).
- Colour of the sputum (white, clear, green, yellow, pink, blood–specked).
- Consistency of the material coughed up (thick, thin, frothy).
- Presence or absence of accompanying pain.
Prevention & Treatment of Cough
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Smoking should be stopped. Drink a lot of water and avoid unhealthy surroundings and crowded places where people with upper respiratory tract infections are bound to be present. Avoid smoke particles and dusty places as well.
Treatment for Cough
Coughs are not necessarily dangerous. If you have a simple dry cough with a running nose, then they are the classical symptoms of a common cold which can be easily cured by merely waiting.
Over treating a common cold with drugs is not advisable as it is a protective mechanism and hence should not be stopped. The therapies may end up masking a deeper underlying problem. Use conventional or alternative cough remedies for no longer than seven to 10 days, and preferably only for temporary relief from night–time coughing.
- Conventional Medicine
An antibiotic might be prescribed for an underlying bacterial infection. Otherwise, for simple cold, just steam inhalation or an expectorant is useful for clearing the blocked nose and throat.
A non–productive cough can be treated by one or more common therapies: throat soothers and cough suppressants, or antihistamines if your cough is caused by allergies. To relieve a cough’s irritation, try cough drops, lozenges and syrups. Many over–the–counter products contain topical anesthetics that will slightly numb your irritated throat and may provide temporary relief.
Ultimately, for any cough that persists for more than seven to 10 days, seek medical advice.
- Alternative Medicine
Aromatherapy works to clear and calm the body while relieving cold symptoms. Peppermint and eucalyptus oils can ease the congestion that often leads to coughing. Menthol acts not only as a decongestant, its anesthetic action can silence a cough. Be careful not to silence a productive cough – one that is bringing up mucus to help clear the lungs.
Ayurvedic medicine provides cough relief with licorice root, which works as an expectorant and a cough suppressant while relieving throat inflammation. Myrrh has also been successful in reducing inflammation of the throat. The loquat, a small tree with plum–like fruit, provides the main ingredient for loquat–flavored cough syrup, recommended in traditional chinese medicine for dry coughs.
Reflexology: Reflexologists relieve cough and wheezing by massaging the area under the ball of the foot.
- The cough refuses to subside.
- The cough produces yellow, green, pink or rust–colored sputum.
- Your cough is accompanied by any of the following signs: hoarseness, sore throat, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pains or tightness, fever, headache, back and leg aches, fatigue, rashes or weight loss.