When it comes to our health, we often take cough and cold for granted. We think of them as minor illnesses that will go away with time. But do you know that cough is actually one of the most common reasons people visit doctors? In fact, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cough is the fifth most common symptom for which people seek medical attention.
So what exactly is a cough?
Coughing is a natural reflex that occurs when our airways are irritated. It helps to clear the throat and airways of mucus, dust, and other particles. Coughing also prevents us from aspirating (breathing in) liquids and small particles.
It is a common symptom of many respiratory illnesses, such as the common cold, bronchitis and pneumonia. It can also be a symptom of other conditions, such as GERD, sinus infections, and allergies.
Scientific studies on cough can be divided into two main categories: etiological studies and pharmacological studies. Etiological studies focus on the causes of cough, while pharmacological studies focus on the treatment of cough.
Etiological studies on cough have revealed a number of important risk factors. For example, a study by the CDC found that smokers are more likely to experience chronic cough than nonsmokers. Other risk factors for cough include exposure to environmental irritants, such as dust or chemicals, and certain medical conditions, such as asthma or GERD.
Pharmacological studies on cough have shown that a number of different medications can be effective in treating this symptom. For example, studies have shown that over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, such as antihistamines and decongestants, can be helpful in treating coughs caused by allergies or viral infections. Other studies have shown that prescription medicines, such as inhaled corticosteroids, can be effective in treating coughs caused by asthma or other respiratory conditions.
If you’re concerned about your cough, it’s important to see a doctor. This is especially true if you’re a smoker or if you have a chronic medical condition. Only a doctor can determine the underlying cause of your cough and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Types of Cough
There are two types of cough: productive and non-productive. A productive cough brings up mucus from the lungs. This is often the case with a cold or flu. A non-productive cough does not bring up mucus. It is often dry and hacking.
Scientific research has shown that both productive and non-productive coughs can be effective in clearing the lungs of secretions. A study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that a three-minute bout of coughing was just as effective as suctioning in clearing the lungs of secretions in patients with pneumonia.
In another study, published in the journal CHEST, researchers found that coughing was more effective than suctioning in clearing secretions from the airways of patients with bronchitis. The study found that patients who coughed up their secretions had less need for rescue medication, such as bronchodilators, and were able to clear their airways more effectively than those who did not cough up their secretions.
These studies suggest that coughing is an important mechanism for clearing the lungs of secretions and that it should not be suppressed in patients with respiratory infections.
What causes coughing?
Most people think of coughing as a minor annoyance. However, for some people, coughing can be a sign of a serious medical condition. Coughing can be caused by a variety of things, including allergies, the common cold, and even some types of cancer.
American Pulmonologist, Dr Jonathan Arden, has seen his fair share of patients with cough. In his years of experience, he has found that there are three primary causes of coughing: allergies, the common cold, and heartburn.
He acknowledged allergies are common causes of coughing. When someone has an allergy, his body reacts to a foreign substance, such as pollen or dust, by producing histamines. These histamines cause the symptoms of an allergy, which can include coughing.
Arden also identified common cold as another frequent cause of coughing. The common cold is a viral infection that causes the body to produce excess mucus. This mucus can irritate the throat and airways, causing a cough.
Heartburn is another possible cause of coughing. Heartburn occurs when stomach acid rises up into the esophagus. This can cause a burning sensation in the chest and throat, as well as coughing.
“These are the three primary factors that contribute to cough, although there are other secondary factors that can also play a role. These include certain medications, such as beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, which can cause a dry cough; Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can cause a chronic cough; and conditions such as COPD and asthma, which can also cause chronic coughs,” he said.
While coughs can be annoying, they are usually not serious and will resolve on their own. However, if you have a cough that is chronic or productive of green or yellow mucus, it is important to see your doctor to rule out any underlying causes.
How to get rid of cough fast using home remedies
While over-the-counter (OTC) medications can be effective in relieving the symptoms of cough, some people prefer to use home remedies. These home remedies can be used to help relieve the symptoms of a cough and even help you get rid of it faster.
One of the best home remedies for a cough is honey. Honey has been shown to be effective in treating both dry and productive coughs. It works by coating the throat and airway, which helps to soothe them and reduce inflammation. Honey can be taken by itself or added to tea or other beverages.
A study published in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics found that honey was more effective in reducing cough symptoms than over-the-counter cough medicines. Honey may work by coating the throat and soothing irritated tissue.
Another effective home remedy for a cough is ginger. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to soothe the throat and airway, making it easier to breathe. Ginger can be made into tea by adding slices of fresh ginger root to hot water.
Findings published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that ginger was effective in treating coughing, and that it may work by suppressing the cough reflex.
There are many other home remedies for cough, but there is little scientific evidence to support their use. Some home remedies, such as drinking warm liquids or taking steamy showers, may help to relieve symptoms by loosening mucus. Others, such as using peppermint oil or eating spicy foods, may help to open up the airways and clear out mucus. However, more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of these remedies.
While there are many home remedies for cough, it is important to see a doctor if the cough persists for more than few weeks, or if it is accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever, shortness of breath, or chest pain. If you are concerned about your cough, speak to your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.