Lung infections have been at all-time highs in the last six months and the various and extended symptoms have many wondering why recovery time is so lengthy. Coughs are one of the most common complaints seen by doctors and exact causes are only found for less than 50 percent of conditions. Coughs are mainly a protective reflex to remove foreign bodies, mucus or irritants and a primary respiratory reflex for inflammation. Knowing which type of cough is ailing you is the first step in addressing a solution. Here are 8 different types of coughs, their symptoms and how to treat them.
Each type of cough is distinct and could help indicate specific underlying illness. One of the best ways to diagnose a cough is by listening to the sound of the cough.
CHRONIC DRY COUGH
A stubborn dry cough that comes and goes, but never quite disappears. It’s called a dry cough because it doesn’t produce phlegm. It usually occurs during the day, prompting a coughing fit that can last three to ten minutes. In extreme cases, sufferers experience pulled muscles, incontinence and even fractured ribs.
Such coughs used to be simply written off as ‘unexplained’. But doctors have recently discovered that in some cases the problem is hypersensitivity in the upper-airways, triggered by a reflux of gas from the stomach. Dry coughs are usually caused by allergies, colds and bronchitis.
Certain medications can cause coughing, particularly ACE inhibitors, prescribed for high blood pressure. This -usually happens in about 15 percent of people who use them — possibly because the drugs stop the breakdown of a naturally-occurring chemical called bradykinin which, in turn, makes the nerve endings in the lungs more sensitive to irritation.
Once this hypersensitivity has set in, sufferers will have a coughing fit if anything — such as dust or cold air — touches their throat. However, not everyone who has gas reflux will develop a cough as a symptom.
Take 10 black pepper corns (not grounded or powdered pepper) and boil them in a glass of water. Boil the water till it reduces to half a glass. Filter the pepper corns and allow the mixture to get luke warm. Mix a spoon of honey and take small sips. It will decrease symptoms within a few hours and then repeat. After 2 days of regular use the cough should subside. Other useful natural remedies in tea preparations include turmeric, honey, ginger, plantain leaf, sage, and lobelia.
CHRONIC, TICKLY COUGH
Tickly coughs are closely related to dry coughs and are sometimes these terms are used interchangeably. Both these types of coughs may be referred to as dry tickly coughs. Although this cough is non-productive and doesn’t produce phlegm, you feel as if mucus or catarrh is dripping down the back of your throat. Sometimes it can also feel as if there’s a lump in the throat.
This is known as a post-nasal drip — the cause of about 7 percent of coughs, says Professor Peter Barnes, head of -respiratory medicine at Imperial College, London. But they may also be caused by colds and flu. If our immune system is not able to overcome this infection, viruses enter the tissues of the upper airways, causing inflammation.
Normally, we produce up to four pints of clear thin mucus every day from the glands which line the nose and sinuses. This usually drips unnoticed down your throat.
Tickly coughs can be triggered by pollution, a smoky atmosphere or cold air. This is because the particles in the air you breathe are trapped by the mucous lining of your throat, causing irritation and the need to cough.
Hay fever can also cause tickly coughs. The body reacts to the presence of pollen by releasing large amounts of the chemical histamine. This causes inflammation of the respiratory tracts, potentially leading to a tickly cough.
It is unlikely that antibiotics will help people suffering from a tickly cough as these drugs only work on bacteria and most tickly coughs are the result of viral infections. Herbal remedies, such as extracts of spruce or pine shoots, have been used traditionally to help tickly coughs. Honey also soothes the lining of the tissues at the back of the throat.
BARKING, DRY COUGH
The cough might be accompanied by some wheezing, but no phlegm. It occurs at night and intermittently during the day.
This cough usually happens after a bout of cold, flu or other respiratory infections and might be caused by increased inflammation in the airways.
In most cases, it should go away by itself after a few weeks. Honey lozenges can help. Spongiatosta homeopathic remedy (any potency) taking 3-4 pellets a few times per day. Aconitum Napellis homeopathic remedy (any potency) helps with the sudden onset of dry barking coughs. Steam treatments and infrared saunas are also beneficial.
Symptoms might also be eased by leaning over a bowl of boiling water with a towel over your head, as moisture from the steam will soothe and lubricate the airways. Adding a few drops of eucalyptus may help.