Generally, a cough is considered as a normal bodily response. Coughing keeps the throat clear from phlegm and other irritants. Nevertheless, prolonged coughing can indicate a variety of health issues.
A short-term stretch of coughing that persists for 2-3 weeks which starts quickly and steadily tapering off can indicate flu, common cold or sinus infection. Episodes of coughing that lasts more than 3 weeks might indicate an allergy or an underlying health issue that requires proper assessment by a doctor.
Causes of cough
It is important to note that coughing can indicate a cold which is instigated by viral infections in the respiratory tract. The other symptoms of common cold include runny nose and nasal congestion.
An allergy can also trigger similar symptoms but caused by exposure to allergens that irritate the immune system. When an individual is exposed to a particular allergen such as pet dander or pollen, the immune system produces histamine that causes the bodily reactions. If an individual has a cough that occurs in a certain environment or season, he/she might have an allergy.
What are the symptoms?
Infections on the respiratory tract typically involve fever and body aches while allergies do not. A doctor must be consulted if the individual develops fever or chills since these symptoms can indicate a serious infection in the lungs such as bronchitis. If the cough is violent or there is dense, foul-smelling phlegm, it is best to seek medical care.
Cough due to common cold, allergies or sinus infections can be managed with various over-the-counter medications. Nevertheless, those who want to avoid chemicals can utilize several home remedies to ease the coughing.
Remedies for cough
If you want to skip on using over-the-counter medications for cough, there are several remedies that you can try to help ease the cough. Along with measures that you can learn in a first aid course, these readily available remedies at home can help manage a cough.
Honey has long been used as a remedy for sore throat. It is also known to relieve coughing more effectively than the over-the-counter medications that contain dextromethorphan which is a cough suppressant. All you have to do is to mix honey with herbal tea or with warm water and lemon. The honey will provide a soothing effect while lemon can ease the congestion.
Probiotics are basically microorganism that can provide a number of health benefits. Even though they do not directly ease the cough, they balance out the gastrointestinal flora. This will help support the immune system to reduce the likelihood of flu or cold as well as sensitivity to allergens.
Bromelain is an enzyme that is present in pineapple. It works by suppressing cough as well as loosen up the mucus in the throat. This was discovered in a study conducted on the fruit. There are bromelain supplements but should not be taken by children or adults who currently use blood thinners.
Peppermint and eucalyptus
The oil of eucalyptus and peppermint leaves is known for their healing properties. The menthol in peppermint can help soothe the throat and acts as a decongestant. An individual with cough can greatly benefit from peppermint tea or simply inhaling the peppermint vapors from a steam bath. As for eucalyptus, you can create an ointment using beeswax, coconut oil and eucalyptus oil.