The chronic hacking of smoker’s cough is considered familiar for most of us especially by those who smoke. The exact cause of the cough and how it is treated must be determined.
Close look on smoker’s cough
A smoker’s cough is a persistent cough that develops among long-term smokers. It simply means that it has been present for more than 2-3 weeks. Initially, it is dry but over time, it eventually leads to the production of phlegm. The phlegm or sputum can appear clear, white, yellowish or even greenish. Remember that the cough is typically worse upon waking up and improves as the day progresses.
Causes of cough
The airways are covered with cilia and when an individual smoke, they are paralyzed in which they could no longer perform their task. The toxins are allowed to enter the lungs where they settle and trigger inflammation. This results to coughing as the body tries to clear these substances from the lungs.
At night time, these cilia start to repair themselves since they are no longer exposed to the toxins in smoke. Since the cilia are required to catch and eliminate the toxins, the outcome is coughing upon waking up in the morning.
Indications that the cough might be serious
Coughing up blood
If the individual coughs up blood even a small amount on a single episode, it is vital to set an appointment with a doctor. This is the initial sign of lung cancer in some individuals who have the disease.
If the individual has a hoarse voice that persists more than a few days or not accompanied by other usual common cold symptoms, consult a doctor. The hoarseness of voice among those who smoke might be triggered by various conditions.
If wheezing is present, it might be an indication of asthma. If the individual just experienced wheezing for the first time, consult a doctor.
Shortness of breath
If the individual finds it hard to breath, consult a doctor. Many individual notice that their initial symptom of lung cancer is a sensation of difficulty catching their breath during activity.
Unexplained weight loss
This can occur if there is a serious underlying condition. In such cases, it is vital to have the condition checked by a doctor.
The ideal course of treatment for smoker’s cough is no other than cessation of smoking. Even though the cough can worsen for a few weeks after quitting, it eventually improves over time.
Remember that coughing has a function specifically to clean the airways by eliminating foreign materials being breathed in. Aside from the irritants present in cigarette and the cigar smoke, there are other constituents in the surroundings that can add up to the symptoms. Since coughing has a vital function, suppressing or holding up the cough is not usually a suitable option. A doctor should be consulted before using any over-the-counter or prescription cough suppressants.