It seems to be a season of coughs; wherein we would hear it everywhere we go, in different tunes and volumes. ^_^ But when it’s us making those coughing sounds, looks like we dare not laugh cause it could worsen coughing spells. ^_^
So.. everybody coughs occasionally; more so when it’s cold season. Most times we just shrug it off as nothing to worry about; when we get an itchy throat once in a while because it disappears on its own, right? But pulmonologists will tell us that a cough is never normal and will always indicate that something is wrong, though not always a big deal. Like one time when I coughed so suddenly due to a bit of peanut which somehow got stuck somewhere on the side of my tonsils. However, types of coughs vary wildly, and at times, it’s hard to diagnosis a bigger problem.
These are the conditions which causes coughs:
Colds and Flu
Post-nasal drip (usually triggered by allergies, fumes or an upper respiratory infection
Sinusitis/Rhinitis (inflammation of the sinus or nasal passages)
Allergies (Coughs related to rhinitis, sinusitis and post-nasal drip may have been triggered by allergies.)
Asthma (other than loud wheezing, some asthmatic patients get only a cough)
Acute bronchitis/Pneumonia (usually with build up of excess mucous )
Reflux (GERD) (the back-up of stomach fluids into our esophagus)
Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
Some medications (such as blood pressure drugs)
These factors could be the source of nerves in passages leading to the lungs to become irritated. Normally, the resulting cough is working to clear those irritants; in much the same way that phlegm seems to plead to be thrown out and coughing it out helps, right?
Doctors advise us to drink at least a quart of water or other fluids daily to keep the respiratory system hydrated and the cough moist so we can hack up the phelgm out or whatever’s in the lungs more easily. As much as possible, we should not take over-the-counter cough suppressants unless coughing keeps us up at night because it just suppress the cough, but keeps the mucous in. If the cough is just mild and very seldom, it’s best to wait it out and let the cold go away.
Nutritional supplements are good for the body. Zinc lozenges can soothe a cough, but beware of commercial cough drops which has sugar in it. Vitamin A, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, vitamin E and folic acid are all useful nutrients to combat a cough. Increase your immunity with system-boosting foods such as garlic, oregano, green tea, ginger and red bell peppers to keep the body strong.
However, how will we know when it’s a cough which is really worth worrying over, asap? A simple cold, bronchitis, pneumonia, and even GERD may bring about dry barking spells or wet, productive coughing attacks. When should we seek medical attention?
Here are some guidelines to ask yourself:
* How long does it last? Two weeks of coughing should prompt you to go to your doctor right away. A cough is considered chronic after eight weeks, and most likely, it won’t disappear on its own; but why wait for eight weeks, right? Over a week of coughing should set the alarm on.
* Does your coughing come with :
green or yellow phlegm
shortness of breath
If your cough worsens and lasts for over a week and is accompanied by any or all of the above (despite your lozenges and natural supplements) go and see your doctor right away. And hurry!