A cough is your body’s way of responding when something irritates your throat or airways. An irritant stimulates nerves that send a message to your brain. The brain then tells muscles in your chest and abdomen to push air out of your lungs to force out the irritant.
An occasional cough is normal and healthy. A cough that persists for several weeks or one that brings up discolored or bloody mucus may indicate a condition that needs medical attention.
At times, coughing can be very forceful. Prolonged, vigorous coughing can irritate the lungs and cause even more coughing. It is also exhausting and can cause sleeplessness, dizziness or fainting, headaches, urinary incontinence, vomiting, and even broken ribs.
What are the types of cough?
There are many types of cough. Some of the names describe how long they last, while other types describe how they feel or sound, and other types are actual conditions.
Types of coughs may be related to how they last
- Acute cough begins suddenly and lasts for two to three weeks.
- Subacute cough stays around after you’ve had an infection and lasts three to eight weeks.
- Chronic cough lasts longer than eight weeks. Long-lasting coughs may also be called persistent coughs.
- Refractory cough is a chronic cough that hasn’t responded to treatment.
Types of coughs may be related to mucus
- A productive cough, or a wet cough, is a cough that brings up mucus or phlegm.
- A non-productive cough, or a dry cough, doesn’t bring up mucus or phlegm.
Types of coughs that have distinct sounds and are related to specific conditions
- Whooping. Pertussis, or whooping cough, is an infection that causes a cough that sounds like a “whoop.”
- Barking. A cough that sounds like barking can be a sign of croup.
- Wheezing. This type of cough often happens when you have blocked airways. It can be associated with an infection, like a cold, or chronic conditions, like asthma.
Types of coughs related to when you cough
- Daytime cough.
- Nighttime (nocturnal) cough.
- Cough with vomiting. This often happens with children. They hard that they gag and sometimes vomit.
Causes of Cough
Understanding the root causes of coughing is the first step to targeted relief. Viral infections, such as the common cold or flu, allergies, smoke, and environmental pollutants can all contribute to persistent coughing.
Common causes are:
- Allergies that involve the nose or sinuses
- Asthma and COPD (emphysema or chronic bronchitis)
- The common cold, flu, and other viral infections
- Lung infections such as pneumonia or acute bronchitis
- Sinusitis with postnasal drip
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Other causes include:
- ACE inhibitors or less often ARB medicines used to treat high blood pressure, heart failure, or kidney diseases
- Cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke (or smoking other substances like marijuana)
- Lung cancer
- Lung diseases such as bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, or interstitial lung disease
- Sometimes no specific cause is found
Symptoms of Cough
Different types of coughs present with various symptoms, including chest pain, throat irritation, shortness of breath, and mucus production. Identifying these symptoms helps in selecting the most appropriate remedies.
10 Home remedies for cough are:
1. Honey and Lemon
Harness the natural antibacterial properties of honey combined with the soothing effects of lemon to ease throat irritation. Mix a tablespoon of honey with fresh lemon juice for a comforting elixir.
2. Ginger Tea
Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties make it an excellent choice for reducing cough severity. Prepare ginger tea by steeping fresh ginger slices in hot water and adding honey for sweetness.
3. Steam Inhalation
Inhaling steam helps moisten the airways and loosen mucus, providing relief from chest congestion. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to hot water and inhale the steam for enhanced benefits.
4. Thyme Tea
Thyme has antimicrobial properties that can help soothe coughs. Prepare thyme tea by steeping fresh or dried thyme leaves in hot water. Strain and drink for respiratory relief.
5. Saltwater Gargle
Saltwater gargling is a simple yet effective remedy for reducing throat inflammation and minimizing coughing. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in warm water and gargle several times a day.
6. Eucalyptus Oil
Explore the benefits of eucalyptus oil for cough relief. Inhale the vapors by adding a few drops to hot water or apply diluted eucalyptus oil to the chest for a soothing effect.
7. Marshmallow Root
Marshmallow root can coat the throat, providing a soothing effect and reducing coughing. Prepare marshmallow root tea by steeping the dried root in hot water.
8. Warm Milk with Turmeric
Combining warm milk with turmeric creates a potent remedy with anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric’s active compound, curcumin, can help alleviate cough symptoms.
Peppermint’s menthol content can help relax the muscles in the respiratory tract, easing cough symptoms. Enjoy peppermint tea or inhale peppermint oil vapors for relief.
Supporting gut health with probiotics can positively impact the immune system, reducing the frequency and severity of coughs. Include probiotic-rich foods like yogurt in your diet.
Combining these natural remedies provides a holistic approach to cough relief. Tailor remedies to specific symptoms for optimal results. While these remedies are generally safe, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if the cough persists or worsens.
FAQs on Cough and Home Remedies
How often can I use honey and lemon for cough relief?
You can consume honey and lemon several times a day, as needed. However, moderation is key to avoiding excessive sugar intake.
Can ginger tea be given to children for coughs?
Yes, ginger tea can be given to children in moderate amounts. It’s advisable to consult with a pediatrician for proper guidance.
Is steam inhalation safe for individuals with respiratory conditions?
While generally safe, individuals with respiratory conditions like asthma should consult their healthcare provider before using steam inhalation.
Can eucalyptus oil be applied directly to the skin?
No, eucalyptus oil should be diluted before applying to the skin to prevent irritation. Mix it with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, before use.
Are probiotic supplements effective for cough relief?
Probiotic supplements can support overall immune health, but it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized recommendations.