What is Cough? Its Causes, Warning Sign, and Remedies.

Coughing occasionally is very normal. It occurs to everyone at some point in time. It is also one of the healthy functions performed by the body as it protects your lungs and airway from irritants. In routine life, it is linked with the common cold and helps in clearing the throat of mucus, germs, and dust. A persistent cough can be termed as chronic if it lasts for more than eight weeks as normal coughing can be treated within two weeks.

Coughing and through irritation

A cough, also called tussis, involves rapid expulsion of air from the lungs. It can be a voluntary or involuntary act done by a person to clear the passage of throat from foreign particles, irritants, etc. If it longs for more than 3-4 weeks, you should consult a doctor, but most of the coughing issues got resolved within two weeks.

Causes of Cough

Cleaning of throat

Coughing is a reflex action to clear the throat when it becomes clogged by some foreign objects. It helps in easy breathing.

Viruses and Bacteria

Infections caused by viruses into the respiratory tract leads to coughing. Many viruses do not have any treatment while, bacterial infection can be cured with antibiotics.

Asthma

Young children suffering from asthma also cough a lot. Coughing of this kind involves wheezing (high-pitched whistling sound). Its treatment lies in an inhaler

Allergies

Many allergies can affect your nasal passages, airway, and skin. If they turn severe, they can be life-threatening.

Bronchitis

When the lining of your bronchial tubes causes inflammation, you start coughing which comes along with thick, discoloured mucus. Bronchitis can be very minor or it can be chronic. 

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

When the content you eat backflows into from stomach into the esophagus, a person coughs to make a reflex into the trachea.

Medicines

Few medications also cause cough as their side-effect. A common example of this is medicines of high blood pressure and heart conditions. 

Smoking

It is the most common cause of coughing. The cough which originates from tobacco is often chronic. 

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Why Do I Cough When I Laugh?

Coughing while laughing image

It is normal to have a cough when we laugh because the same nerves are used in laughing and coughing. Sometimes when they get triggered one can cough during a laugh. This happens with many people but it does not mean that we need a medical checkup. But at the same time, if this happens regularly with that person who smokes then it may be a serious problem (asthma). So, people with chronic cough related problems must take medical aid to cure them.

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Why Do I Cough When I Eat?

Coughing while eating is worst

Many people suffer from this problem as whenever they eat something they cough. If it happens very rarely then there is no issue at all but if this happens regularly then we must consult with a doctor. There can be several reasons behind this, such as acid reflux, asthma, food allergy and many more. Underwritten are some of the important issues due to which this problem occurs.

Asthma

It is a very serious problem that affects the lungs very badly. It usually starts in childhood but we can also see a lot of people suffering from it in old age. Asthma cough is worse during the early morning or late at night. This is caused due to sulphates which are present in beer, wine, dried fruits and many more.

Food Allergies

This is also common in children. It depends upon the body to body as some persons cannot digest particular food items that others can digest. So these food items sometimes affect the respiratory system which leads to cough.

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Stomach Pain From Coughing

It is very difficult for a normal person to understand that why there is stomach pain when we cough because both are different parts of the body as cough occurs due to problems in lungs and stomach pain occurs in the abdomen. But there is a relationship between both of them which is known as acid reflux. It is a common condition that most people suffer from. Now we will discuss some methods which can reduce this pain.

  • We have to eat that food which does not increase acid reflux.
  • Obesity is also the main reason behind this, so one must reduce his/her weight if they are suffering from this problem.
  • Smoking also leads to stomach pain. So, one must quit smoking in order to rescue himself/herself from this problem.

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Warning Signs Showing that a Doctor is Needed

Don’t take your cough casually. If you are not getting rid of it within two to three weeks and experience any of the under-written symptoms, you should consult a doctor:

Short Breaths

When you feel difficulty in breathing or struggle to catch normal breath without any exertion.

Bleeding

If you witness blood in your mucus regularly.

Wheezing Sound

When your breathing turns noisy.

Trouble in Sleeping

When you find trouble in having a sound sleep every day.

Continuous Pain

When you suffer from a persistent throat or chest pain.

Weight Loss

If your body weight is falling continuously over a short period.

Hoarseness (alteration in voice quality)

If your voice continues to hoarse for more than a few days.

Trouble Swallowing

When you find swallowing anything difficult and painful.

High Fever

When you suffer from constant high fever making your body temperature very high all the time.

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Type (Colours) of Mucus

Colours of mucous

White

When the body produces more white blood cells to fight any infection, the mucus turns thick and cloudy or white. It also signals nasal congestion caused by swelling and inflammation of tissues.

Green

The mucus turns green when protein is produced by inflammatory cells during the immune response.

Yellow

Yellow-coloured mucus comes when the immune cells begin working upon the infected area. Immune cells when it comes to the contact of mucus while fighting the infection gives yellowish colour to it.

Red

Mucus gains a red colour when blood content is present in it. Excessive coughing can cause a breakage of small blood vessels in your nose or throat adding blood to mucus.

Brown

Brown coloured mucus can be seen when bleeding happened a while ago and is not recent. It is seen in those people who smoke regularly.

Black

This colour signifies fungal infection. Black mucus combines with a weak immune system can be life-threatening.

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Curing Cough Through use of Essential Oils

Inhaling of essential oils through a nasal spray assists in reducing inflammation and soothes the throat. Following 7 essential oils if used properly can help you come out of trouble:

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

It has antimicrobial effects and helps in fighting illness-causing bacteria. It should be inhaled by diluting it in boiled water.

Rosemary Essential Oil

It is a garden herb and helps in the reduction of inflammation. It also breaks up the mucus when inhaled.

Peppermint Essential Oil

It contains menthol extract which when inhaled gives a cooling sensation to a scratchy throat. Dilute it in boiling water before inhaling.

Oregano Essential Oil

It contains carvacrol which has antimicrobial properties. It helps in the treatment of bacterial and viral causes of cough.

Thyme Essential Oil

It also contains a large content of carvacrol and assists in eliminating viruses and bacteria.

Cinnamon Essential Oil

It has some medicinal properties which give protection against germs causing respiratory problems. It can be used with the help of a diffuser.

Tea Tree Essential Oil

It kills infection-causing bacteria. One can inhale it with the help of a diffuser.

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Home Remedies for Cough

Some treatments can be done at home to get relief from the discomfort of the cough. It includes:

Green Tea And Honey For cough

Green Tea

It is antioxidant and contains such ingredients that provide relaxation to the body. Drink green tea once every day.

Honey

Mix one teaspoon of honey into your tea or water before drinking. It reduces throat irritation and soothes it nicely.

Vitamin C

Eat fruits and drink liquids which are a good source of Vitamin C. This will also help in fighting cough.

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Quit smoking logo for cough

The use of tobacco can lead to various health problems. If one quit smoking, the risk of smoking-related diseases will greatly reduce. There must be quit smoking logos (an image of a cigarette marked diagonally within a red circle) at various commercial and residential places. At public places like hospitals, parks, restaurants, bus stops, railway stations, etc these logos play an important role. If a person does not follow signs or logos then that person should be penalized.

 

Dr Deepak Kansal is a dentist, who is currently working in Sri Ganganagar. He did his Bachelor of Dental Surgery from Rajasthan University of Health Science.

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