A cough is more often than not just a natural reflex that clears the throat and assists in keeping irritants out of the lungs. A useful cough passes phlegm up so that you can spit it out. And that is just what you want to do! On the other hand, a dry, chopping cough is one that does not carry any phlegm up, it only aggravates your throat which makes you cough even more. That is when a cough is not normal. If you keep cough treatment unproductively, you are still irritating those passageways, which make it even more difficult for cough fits to end.
Productive or nonproductive coughs
A nonproductive cough is usually associated with irritation from above the throat, such as postnasal drip. The discharge irritates your throat and causes coughing.
A productive cough indicates an infection or the production of increased secretion. A nonproductive cough can also be infectious, but not usually. It most often represents an irritant such as smoking or asthma.
Is cough treatment serious?
Coughing is, more often than not, a signal of a cold, flu, or allergy. However, it can also be the principal sign of a severe illness, such as:
- asthma—if you are a cough at night and wheezing
- lung cancer
- pneumonia, tuberculosis
- heart disease
So how do you determine if your cough is a sign of something more serious? Look at the phlegm you’re producing:
- Clear, watery, foamy phlegm typically indicates a viral infection and there isn’t really need to see a doctor about that.
- Yellow or brown phlegm, cough for a long time and having a high fever indicates needing to see a doctor.
- It is also time to see a doctor if a cough stays for over 5 days, especially if you smoke.
How to stop coughing
If you are having a productive cough, find an over-the-counter syrup with guaifenesin which can be found in Robitussin and a lot of generic brands. It is an expectorant that will help get all that nasty junk out of your chest! Follow label directions.
If you are needing to quiet your coughing to be able to sleep or are experiencing a dry, hacking cough, try a syrup that has dextromethorphan as one of the ingredients.
Even though some syrup has a lot of other ingredients, that does not make them a better purchase. Most combination remedies either have side effects or target symptoms that you do not even have. There is no purpose to pull out a whole cache of drugs just for a cough.
Vicks VapoRub provides much relief to irritated respiratory passages, give this remedy ago! It uses oil scents, camphor, and eucalyptus among others to help clear congestion.
Steam it away!
Fill up your bathtub or hand basin with hot steaming water. Put your head above the steam and take deep breaths over it for 15 minutes. For even more results, use a towel over your head to keep that moisture locked where your face is. Steam eases irritation and helps reduce the urge to cough. This method is extremely helpful if your cough wakes you up at night. Also, if your local gym has a steam room this would be perfect! Not only is steam great for your pores, it is very helpful for irritating coughs!