about cough
about cough
Cough is a defensive reflex of the body that keeps the airways clear of irritating or obstructing substances so that breathing is effective. Coughing occurs when the body wants to clear something from the airways. Foreign objects, dust, smoke, irritants, mucus, or food particles stimulate receptors in the airways and send signals to the brain that start the coughing reflex.

Types Of Cough

Acute cough
    Less than 3 weeks
  • Viral – induced lower respiratory tract infections.
  • Post-nasal drip resulting from rhinitis or sinusitis.
  • Throat - clearing secondary to laryngitis or pharyngitis.
Subacute cough
    3 – 8 weeks
  • Post infectious Cough.
  • Acute Sinusitis.
  • Asthma.
Chronic cough
    More than 8 weeks
  • Post-nasal drip secondary to nasal or sinus disease.
  • Asthma, where cough may be the principal or exclusive clinical manifestation.
  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux (may require ambulatory pH monitoring or a prolonged trial of anti reflux therapy to diagnose.

Dry Cough/Non-Productive Cough:

DRY COUGH/NON-PRODUCTIVE COUGHThere is no phlegm or no sputum production. The throat and upper airways become inflamed. It is of three types:
  • Dry hacking cough - A short, weak repeating cough, often caused by irritation of the larynx by a postnasal drip.
  • Barking cough - Also called Croup. It is a viral infection that results in swollen vocal cords and throat.
  • Whooping Cough - Another name for pertussis, an airways infection caused by the bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. The patient coughs continuously, after which there is a characteristic whoop sound and a strong intake of breath.

Wet Cough/Productive Cough:

A productive cough produces phlegm or mucus (sputum). The mucus may have drained down the back of the throat from the nose or sinuses or come up from the lungs. A productive cough generally should not be suppressed-it clears mucus from the lungs.

PRODUCTIVE/WET COUGH Conditions associated with this type of cough include:
  • Common cold: A wet cough with a runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, low-grade fever (below 101.5°F), and postnasal drip (mucus running down the back of the throat). Symptoms can last 2 to 14 days, but most people recover within 10 days.

  • Expectorants like guaifenesin can help you "cough up" or expel mucus. Antitussives, such as dextromethorphan, can be used to treat the cough.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)/Chronic Bronchitis: A wet cough with mucus, shortness of breath, tightness of the chest, and wheezing. It is caused by Cigarette smoking or other long-term exposure to air pollutants or lung irritants. COPD is a life-long condition and requires medical care.

Classification Of Cough Ingredients:

They are of three types:
  • Cough suppressants or antitussives (dextromethorphan, codeine, noscapine) stop the body's urge to cough by inhibiting the cough reflex. They are used for dry coughs only.
  • Expectorants (guaiphenesin and bromhexine) decrease the consistency of thick sputum, making it easier for the person to bring out phlegm.
  • Mucolytics (sodium citrate) chemically alter the consistency of thick secretions.