Finally, you got on the last train home! It’s packed with people all tired and wanting to just rest. Then you feel it coming — that familiar tickling at the back of the throat, that rattling feeling in your chest, and that insistent urge to let it out.
You can no longer hold it, and so your coughing fit starts.
A lot of people have gone through similar situations where the urge to cough cannot be avoided. Especially in crowded places, a cough, especially a long and chesty one, will either cause people to scamper away or cause them to give you death stares.
It’s not easy to live with a cough. Aside from embarrassing social situations (where you are also considered a health risk), it is also really uncomfortable. Your sleep is disturbed, you find it hard to go about your daily duties, and you worry about passing it on to someone especially those living with you.
Here are some common questions and answers about coughs, including the most important one – how to make it go away:
1. What is a cough?
Coughs are the body’s natural way of clearing out obstructed airways. It may be a reflex reaction when the lungs or the air passageways are irritated or blocked by foreign objects like dust, smoke, or even bits of food.
However, when coughs become persistent, it may already be a sign that something is not entirely right with your body. It could be caused by bacteria or a virus and for which you should get medical attention.
2. What are the types of cough?
Typically, there are two kinds of coughs: dry and wet.
Dry cough sufferers usually experience a tickling sensation at the back of their throats due to irritants, so they have frequent urges to expel air through coughing.
Wet coughs, also called productive or chesty coughs, are coughs that produce and expel phlegm. An excess production of a thick, sticky, and gel-like substance called ‘mucus’ or ‘sputum’ is produced when you have a cough. The mucus traps bacteria, viruses, or other inhaled particles, then it gets expelled through the cilia and out of the airways.
3. What are the symptoms I should look out for when I have a productive cough?
Chesty cough symptoms include:
- Heaviness or tightness in the chest
- Congested sensation
- Breathing difficulty
- Sticky phlegm comes out especially during persistent coughing
- Rattling or wheezing sound when breathing or coughing
- Usually more pronounced in the mornings
4. What causes a chesty cough?
Short-term coughs can be caused by an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) and can affect the throat, like in the case of the common cold, flu or laryngitis. If the lungs are infected, it can be a lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
Chronic or long-term coughs may be caused by asthma, gastroesophageal reflux syndrome (GERD), post-nasal drip, or smoking. Some medications like ACE inhibitors may also cause a cough.
In rare instances, coughs can be an underlying symptom of tuberculosis, fungal infections of the lungs or lung cancer.
5. When should I see the doctor about my cough?
If your cough shows no signs of letting up even after medication, it would be wise to see a physician to check what the cause really is. Usually, it is nothing serious but there are rare cases when it could be a sign of an underlying ailment like heart disease or lung cancer.
Here are other signs that you should seek professional medical help:
- You experience unexplained weight loss.
- You notice lumps or swelling in the neck area.
- You have difficulty swallowing and breathing.
- There are permanent changes in your voice.
- You cough out blood.
- You experience chest pains.
- When you have fevers that are not going down.
6. What treatments are available for a chesty cough?
A chesty cough treatment helps supports the body’s natural process of getting rid of excess phlegm. There are chesty cough products like cough tablets, 24-hour long-acting capsules, and cough syrups that liquefy the mucus.
This range of chesty cough products has a three-way action that helps the body transport the mucus out of the airways. First, it loosens the phlegm, clears it from the airways, and protects from new mucus being produced in excess amounts.
7. How can cough syrups help?
Expectorants like Mucosolvan Cough Syrup has an active ingredient called ‘ambroxol.’ Ambroxol helps clear the respiratory tract by facilitating expectoration, helps fight infections and eases productive coughing.
When in syrup form, a smooth, protective film immediately coats the throat’s irritated mucus membranes. This helps ensure you have a more restful sleep at night, and more freedom to go about your business in the daytime.
With the information above, you already have the answers to help you manage and do away with your cough. Along with the recommended treatment options such as those for the chesty cough range, you can sure breathe easy and be cough-free.
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