Possible causes include
laryngitis , sore throat , tonsillitis , sinusitis , gastroesophageal reflux and exposure to irritating agents (pollution, smoke, medication, etc.).
Because it is irritating, it can aggravate existing injuries. It is important to analyze if the mucus is not actually being produced or if it does not flow due to dehydration.
Productive cough (with phlegm)
Productive cough has a secretion produced specifically to clear the airways. It is usually associated with a
cold or flu , but it can also be due to pneumonia , bronchitis or asthma .
Often, cough with phlegm can be accompanied by yellow-green mucus, characterizing a
purulent cough . This occurs when there is an infection in the respiratory tract and, therefore, medical help should be sought.
Coughing can also be a side effect of some medications, especially ACE enzyme inhibitors, commonly indicated to treat
high blood pressure .
A good way to diagnose it is to observe when the symptom started – in this case, usually within a few weeks of starting treatment with the medication.
Allergic cough is the one caused by the person’s exposure to some component capable of irritating the airways, viruses or any other type of allergenic element. Among the most common are cigarette smoke, pollution, animal hair, dust, mites.
In addition, the symptom may be related to bronchial asthma, allergic sinusitis and even
rhinitis . In general, allergic cough may be accompanied by an itchy throat, runny or stuffy nose and watery eyes. However, these symptoms are not always present.
An allergic reaction happens when the immune system mistakenly identifies something as a threat and attacks it.
For example, peanuts do not pose a risk to the body, but some people are extremely allergic to it. The immune system, upon perceiving the peanut, believes it is in danger and reacts.
The result is allergies, which are not always as severe, and may present only with mild symptoms. These reactions can cause coughing, as well as an uncomfortable itchy throat.
Spasmodic cough is a crisis of intense coughs, which can prevent or hinder breathing while occurring through repeated
muscle spasms .
Paroxysmal cough (whooping cough)
The word paroxysmal, in medicine, is used in the sense of “maximum intensity”. It is the most common symptom of
pertussis and presents as dry and severe coughing fits.
It can appear in several diseases and situations where irritations of the throat cause long-lasting coughing bouts.
Acute and subacute cough
The most common coughs are the shortest, which last only as long as necessary for the defense of the lung. While the acute cough lasts for less than three weeks, the subacute lasts for three to eight weeks.
Cough is considered chronic when it persists for more than two months. When coughing occurs repeatedly and over a long period, the structure of the bronchi can change. In this case, it is recommended to see a doctor as soon as possible, as it is usually a symptom of a hidden disease, such as
Coughing crises can be characterized by intense periods of coughing, in which there was exposure to an irritating agent or the disease originating from it is manifesting itself.
In such cases, it may be that a crisis is isolated or occurs more often, according to the cause. In general, the ideal is that the person goes to a well ventilated environment, away from dust, smoke or other possible irritating agents.
Drinking water and taking a deep breath can help if the cough is caused by particles trapped in the mouth or by
Coughing during pregnancy: what is good?
During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes hormonal changes and may become more sensitive to allergies, flu and other problems. In addition, they increase the chances of gastric reflux, caused by the greater compression of the stomach, irritating the airways.
These factors greatly increase the chances of the pregnant woman presenting with cough, which usually disappears after a few days, but can lead to complications such as
insomnia , urinary incontinence and shortness of breath.
Therefore, some special precautions must be taken to avoid it, such as not staying in very cold places, with a lot of dust or pollution, drinking too much liquid and keeping your head up at night.
During pregnancy, it is important not to take any medication without medical advice, as they can harm the baby. Thus,
any treatment, even if homemade, must be carried out after a doctor’s approval .
It is important to note that the pregnant woman’s cough does not affect the baby, who is protected inside the mother’s belly.
Coughing in babies
Cough is a very common symptom in babies, as it is one of the main defense mechanisms of the body to clean the airways. Because babies have the lowest immunity, they are more likely to get coughing illnesses or irritations.
The main causes of coughing in babies are the change in weather, dry air, gastroesophageal reflux, colds, flu and whooping cough (highly contagious respiratory disease, marked by a severe and dry cough).
In this age group, care must be redoubled. Therefore, always look for a pediatrician to find out what is the best treatment. At home, make your baby drink plenty of fluids. Inhalations with saline and air humidifiers can also help.
Child allergic cough
An allergic reaction caused by coughing can also happen. It is recommended to remove the child from the cause of the
allergy and, if the reaction does not pass in a few hours, take him to the doctor.
Avoid medication without medical advice, especially if the child is very young. It is recommended to hydrate it well. If necessary, inhalation or vaporization can help to clear the airways and resolve the problem.
What are the causes of cough?
Because it is a symptom, cough can be caused by several pathologies, such as:
Allergic rhinitis occurs when dust, animal hair, flower pollen or other substances come into contact with the airways, triggering a local allergic reaction.
The result may be an allergic cough, which scratches the throat and is usually dry, accompanied by runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes and irritation in the nose, mouth, eyes, throat and skin.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
COPD is a chronic disease that causes obstruction of the lung structures (alveoli and bronchi), causing breathing difficulties. The patient may have a dry and chronic cough, wheezing and chest tightness.
If left untreated, it can produce excessive phlegm, cause bacterial infections and bring complications to the patient’s health.
The main cause of COPD is smoking. Among the conditions that make up the disease are:
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi, causing coughing with phlegm. It can be acute, lasting only one to two weeks, but there are cases where it becomes chronic and can last for years. When the condition is prolonged, it becomes a COPD.
emphysema is inflammation and destruction of the alveoli, microscopic part of the lung which hosts the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Cancer (larynx or lung)
In the lung, the tumor can be caused by
smoking or inhaling polluting and carcinogenic agents. The initial symptoms can be confused with any other respiratory disease: cough, shortness of breath, wheezing in the lungs, blood in the sputum and chest pain .
cancer is in the larynx, smoking is also usually the main cause, but the symptoms, in addition to cough, are hoarseness, difficulty breathing, prolonged pain in the throat, a wound that does not heal, among others. If you experience any of these symptoms, visit a doctor.
Very common, it is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways, which makes the lung more sensitive and inflamed. Cough with or without sputum production and respiratory failure are the most reported symptoms. In addition, the patient may notice an overload on the intercostal musculature (muscle between the ribs), due to respiratory effort.
It is the infection of the pulmonary tissues and their alveoli. The main symptoms are sputum (which has a reaction to coughing),
fever , chills, shortness of breath, chest pain when breathing deeply, body aches, indisposition and tiredness .
Another infectious disease, caused by a bacterium known as Koch’s bacillus (BK). Unlike pneumonia, the symptoms of tuberculosis may take time to appear. The most common are fever, night sweats and, especially, cough, which can start dry and become purulent.
Choking occurs when a foreign body lodges in the throat, obstructing the air passage. In such cases, coughing is a reaction by the body to clear the airways.
Choking can be dangerous, as a total airway obstruction can cause choking. In addition, the object can cause irritation and injury to the throat, which can also cause coughing.
Smoking increases the volume of mucus produced by the bronchi, causes physical and chemical irritation of the mucous membranes, destroys the lashes that cover the inner lining of the bronchi, facilitates the accumulation of foreign material in the airways and can cause cell death by continuous contact. of the smoke with the airways.
This benign viral infection of the upper respiratory tract can be caused by more than 200 types of viruses. Colds cause a lot of irritation and pain in the throat, factors that cause the patient to cough persistently while sick.
Flu is a common disease that should be taken more seriously, as it can cause several severe respiratory diseases. Usually, the condition is accompanied by a dry cough.
Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses with nasal obstruction and pain in the face. It can produce cough with phlegm.
Like colds and flu, it can cause Postnasal Drip Syndrome. In this condition, there is excess mucus in the nostrils, which runs down the throat like a trickle of secretion, causing especially chronic cough.
Inflammation in the larynx (the region that makes up the respiratory tract) can cause sore throat, hoarseness and a dry, irritating cough.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
If reflux is a constant problem, it can lead to a chronic cough with a throat clearing and an itchy feeling in the throat. GERD causes stomach acid to return to the esophagus, causing a cough reflex.
Some medications can be the cause of the cough. In general, it is a picture of hypersensitivity that becomes an allergic reaction to the components of the formula. The cough is usually strong and constant. When this occurs, tell your doctor to change your medication.
It is the blocking of one or more arteries in the lungs by fat, air, blood clot or cancer cells.
The main symptoms of this disease are pain or burning under the sternum (long, flat bone that joins the first seven ribs and the collarbone), sudden, bloody cough, rapid breathing, high heart rate and severe chest pain. In these cases, the doctor should be consulted immediately.
Genetic and hereditary disease that produces an abnormal, dense and sticky mucus, which, when it affects the lungs, accumulates and results in lung infections. It may be accompanied by chronic cough and discharge.
It occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood according to metabolic demands. Thus, blood is trapped in the lungs and can invade the alveoli, causing the cough to expel fluid from the lungs.
The main risk factor for cough is cold, which in addition to causing irritation of the respiratory tract, causes people to become crowded in closed places, increasing the risk of transmitting respiratory diseases.
The groups most likely to have cough depend directly on the cause in question. However, in general, the two main groups with a greater predisposition to acquire diseases or irritations that have cough as a symptom are pregnant women and babies.
Cough is already considered a symptom of some disease or condition. However, there are some conditions more commonly linked to it that can explain its cause, such as:
Nasal discharge (runny nose);
Wheezing in the chest;
Shortness of breathe;
Coughing up blood;
Bitter taste in the mouth;
Nausea and vomiting;
Heartburn (in reflux coughs);
In cases where the cough is related to cancer, the patient may experience unexplained weight loss, lack of appetite and difficulty swallowing food.
Diagnosis: how to identify the cause?
It is known that there are several causes for cough, therefore the extreme importance of a correct diagnosis.
The ideal is to seek, initially, a general practitioner, so that, through the clinical examination, he / she will refer the patient to a specialist, when necessary.
Consult your doctor especially if the cough is accompanied by: bleeding, shortness of breath, pain when breathing, weight loss,
headache , high fever (above 38 ºC) or mucus with unusual color.
The specialties that can accompany a cough are
medical clinic, pneumology, cardiology, infectious diseases, immunology and otorhinolaryngology .
It is very important that the appearance of the cough secretion is checked.
When the secretion is clearer, it is usually associated with allergies or viral infections. If it is darker, it may indicate bronchitis, sinusitis or pneumonia. If there is bleeding in the secretion, the cough can be a symptom
of lung cancer .
In chronic or difficult-to-diagnose cases, some imaging and laboratory tests may be performed, including
X-ray , blood allergy antibody test, CT scan and spirometry (test that measures air volume and speed, in order to diagnose respiratory diseases).
Can the cough be transmitted?
Since coughing is always a reaction of the body to some other agent or disease, it cannot be transmitted. But if the disease that caused the cough is transmissible and reaches a second person, they may also have a cough. An example is the flu, an infectious disease caused by the Influenza virus.
Is there a cure for cough?
Yes, most of the time the cough is curable. It depends a lot on the cause. The vast majority of conditions can be treated and cured. Therefore, it is important to obtain a correct diagnosis from the doctor and start the treatment indicated by the specialist.
In addition, there are medications that can reduce or eliminate the cough, even if the condition that is causing this symptom has not been cured yet.
What is the treatment? What is good for relieving cough?
Like the cure, the treatment for cough depends on the established diagnosis and the determined cause. Therefore, if the underlying condition is treated, the cough is likely to disappear. For healthy people, there are some measures to be taken at home that relieve discomfort and usually resolve the problem in a few days.
However, it is worth mentioning that certain homemade recipes are not scientifically proven.
Therefore, if symptoms persist for more than five days, consult a doctor.
In cases of cough caused by bacteria, the doctor is likely to prescribe an antibiotic. Codeine cough suppressants or syrups may also be prescribed.
Home treatment includes:
Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day facilitates the movement of mucus over the lash layer. It is the best treatment when the cough affects children under 4 years.
Another tip for children is warm water or apple juice. You can also take other fluids to moisturize your throat, but avoid alcohol, sodas,
black tea, mate tea and coffee.
Honey soothes the sore throat and mucous membranes. It is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, in addition to intensifying the lubrication of the upper respiratory tract (pharynx, larynx and mouth).
It also has in its composition vitamin C and flavonoids (analgesic and antiviral function). It is indicated mainly during the night, when the cough is disturbing the sleep. You can use it with tea and
Take care not to ingest in excess, due to its high caloric content.
Do not give honey to children under 1 year old, as their immune system still does not protect them from the bacterium
Clostridium botulinum , which can be found in honey.
The vapor of essential oils helps to increase its benefits. Use
tea tree oil , propolis and eucalyptus, which calm the airways and open the air passage, in addition to helping to fight bacteria and viruses. It is important to avoid this practice if the cough is caused by asthma.
Put boiling water in a bowl and let it cool for 1 minute. Add 2 drops of one of the oils and mix. Approach the head of the bowl and cover yourself with a towel to trap the steam. Inhale deeply for 5 to 10 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day.
Another tip is to inhale hot water, as it helps to loosen the congestion of the nose.
Humidify the air
Increase the moisture content of the air with humidifiers, vaporizers or even by placing wet towels or basins with water in the rooms. Hot baths with the door open also help to increase the humidity of the air, distributing the steam.
When humidifiers are not cleaned properly, they can do more harm than good, even transferring fungi and bacteria into the air.
Gargling with salt water
The practice relieves sore throats, reduces swelling and displaces mucus.
Mix ½ teaspoon of salt in 240mL of hot water, dissolve and gargle for 15 seconds. Spit and repeat until the water runs out.
Cough whenever you feel the need, because if there is any secretion, it needs to be expelled;
Cough gently to help transport the mucus to the top of the airway and prevent the throat from becoming even more irritated;
Try to get plenty of rest;
Keep your head up at night using more pillows;
Keep the rooms well ventilated;
Avoid irritating agents present in the air, such as cigarette smoke, animals (hair in the air), perfumes and sprays.
For the cough closest to bronchitis, a poultice (medicated paste) can be made with potatoes or mustard.
Some other plants are also known for their efficiency in combating cough, with an expectorant or disinfectant effect, such as mullein, pine, alteia root, ivy, mallow, Icelandic cetraria, plantain, pulmonary, sheep’s tongue and pine bud. .
Infant and adult cough teas
Avoid cold drinks and gargle, as very cold foods and drinks can increase throat irritation. Opt for teas such as chamomile, lemon and honey, lemongrass, fennel and juices.
Check out some homemade tea recipes that can help calm the airways, loosen mucus, relax throat muscles and / or reduce inflammation:
Licorice root tea
Place 2 tablespoons of dry licorice root in a mug with 240mL of boiling water. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and drink 2 times a day.
This home remedy is not indicated if you are taking steroids or have a kidney problem.
If glycyrriza (active substance present in the root) causes you any side effects, buy deglycyrrhized licorice in health food stores.
Place 1 teaspoon of chopped eucalyptus leaves or 3 to 6 drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a cup of boiling water.
Add 1 tablespoon of honey and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and drink 3 to 4 times a day.
Crush 2 tablespoons of fresh or dried thyme and place in a cup with boiling water. Let stand for 2 minutes. Strain before drinking.
If you want, add honey and lemon.
Place half a teaspoon of saffron powder in a cup of hot milk and mix. Another tip is to put a spoon (soup) of the powder in 4 cups of boiling water.
Let it rest and strain.
Echinacea tea with ginger and honey
Add 2 teaspoons of the echinacea root or leaf and 5cm of fresh ginger in 1L of boiling water. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Strain and drink warm.
Add 1 teaspoon of mint leaves to a cup of boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes, strain and drink.
Peppermint and ginger tea
Dissolve peppermint and powdered ginger in lemon juice. Ginger helps to loosen mucus and, together with peppermint, suppresses throat irritation.
Another tip is to add 3 tablespoons of chopped ginger and 1 tablespoon of peppermint in 4 cups of water.
Boil the water and keep it on the fire until you reduce the water a little. Strain, let cool and add a spoon of honey. Take a tablespoon whenever possible.
Tea can also be made with ginger only.
Read more: What is mint tea for and what are its benefits?
Homemade and natural remedy for cough
Other home remedies for coughing can help relieve symptoms. Some options are:
Guaco juice with carrot
Bronchodilator, relieves cough with phlegm.
In a blender, blend 5 guaco leaves, 1 carrot and 2 peppermint sprigs. Strain and sweeten with honey. Drink several times a day.
Orange and lemon juice
Mix 1 squeezed orange, 1 squeezed lemon, 1 spoon of honey and 3 drops of propolis extract. Drink the solution.
Honey with lemon and propolis
Mix 8 tablespoons of honey and 8 drops of propolis extract to the juice of 1 medium lemon. Drink 3 to 4 times a day.
Carrot and honey
Centrifuge 4 medium carrots and add the juice to 1 cup honey. Store in a covered container and take 1 scoop 3 to 4 times a day.
Oregano and honey
Mix 1 spoon (soup) honey with 1 spoon (coffee) oregano and heat for a few seconds in the microwave. Take the warm syrup 3 to 4 times a day.
Garlic and elderberry syrups are also known for their effectiveness.
Cough remedies: what to use to treat cough?
Some classes of drugs are commonly used to cure cough symptoms, including:
Antitussive remedies are ideal for fighting coughs in the middle of the night, stopping the flow of mucus and restricting the coughing reflex. However, they only serve to remedy a nuisance temporarily.
If used for a long time, with the intention of curing a cough, they can cause mucus to become trapped in the lungs, increasing the risk of developing a bacterial infection.
The list includes:
Vick Vaporub ;
Binelli Drops ;
Hytos Plus Solution .
Except for medical prescription, do not use antitussives in case of productive cough, as expectoration is necessary.
When coughing is associated with colds and flu, anti-inflammatory remedies can be prescribed in order to fight tissue inflammation.
antibiotics only kill bacteria, they are ineffective in the case of viral coughs or those not caused by allergic diseases. Thus, this medicine will only be prescribed by a doctor if a bacterial infection is suspected.
Antiallergic remedies block the action of histamines, substances that cause the common effects of allergy in the body, such as itching, redness and airway blockages. Some examples are:
Cough syrups with phlegm and dry
Cough syrups help to calm the throat and dissolve secretions.
decongestant and expectorant action , they reduce nasal congestion, expand the airways and thin the mucus in the lungs, making it easier to expel them.
However, they should only be taken after the recommendation of a doctor, as the real cause of the cough must be considered, because when a medication is used improperly, in addition to not resolving, it can worsen the patient’s condition.
Overuse can result in dry cough, in addition to causing addiction.
Clobutinol Hydrochloride + Doxylamine Succinate ;
Clobutinol hydrochloride ;
For babies and children, pediatric Vibral (from 3 years old) and Pediatric Atossion (from 2 years old) can be prescribed.
Hytos Plus .
Cough with phlegm
Fenergan Expectorant ;
For babies and children, pediatric Bisolvon (from 2 years old), pediatric Mucosolvan (from 2 years old) and pediatric Vick (from 6 years old) can be prescribed.
NEVER self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained in this website is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.
Complications of cough
Many diseases can give rise to cough, but sometimes it is the cough itself that can cause some complications. Among them are:
Loss of urine
Loss of urine on exertion is possible due to severe coughing, especially at older ages, when the muscles that hold the urine may become weak.
Constant coughs, especially dry coughs, can cause more irritation in the throat, which can lead to hoarseness and damage to the vocal cords.
Coughing is an intense effort, especially when the coughing spells are violent and last for a long time. The person may feel tired after these episodes.
The effort made by the muscles, such as the diaphragm, can cause pain if the coughs are strong and for a prolonged period of time.
Injuries caused by coughs can cause inflammation in the region.
Cough is a reflex that seeks to clear the airways, but when there is a lot of phlegm over a long period of time, bacteria can multiply in the substance, which can lead to airway infections.
The lungs can be injured in cases of very intense and violent coughs.
Intense coughs can cause a decrease in the size of the bronchi, the tubes that carry air to the lung. The reduction of the bronchi impairs the respiratory capacity.
Sleeping with a cough is extremely difficult, as muscle reflexes do not allow you to fall asleep. When constant, coughs can make sleep very difficult, especially because in some types of cough, they are more present at night.
Bleeding and bleeding
Intense coughs and violent attacks can cause bleeding in the lung. Depending on the severity of the bleeding, it can become bleeding.
More fragile patients, such as the elderly or people with bone conditions, can suffer damage to the rib bones as fractures due to very violent coughing attacks.
Prevention: how to prevent coughing?
Just as there are several causes for a cough, there are several ways to prevent it:
Keep your immunity high
Vitamin C is one of the main
vitamins that act to increase immunity, as it increases the production of white blood cells.
Always try to eat foods such as orange, acerola,
kiwi , mandarin, tomato, broccoli and raw pepper. They are rich in vitamin C and therefore strengthen the immune system.
Dark green vegetables,
beans , mushrooms and liver, rich in folic acid , also help in the formation of white blood cells.
In the case of the elderly, it is also important to consume enough
vitamin E , found in oilseeds (walnuts, nuts, almonds and vegetable oils), as it combats the decrease in immune activity due to age.
Zinc-rich foods like meat, nuts, seeds and legumes help fight colds, flu and other immune system diseases.
Do not smoke
Smoking, in addition to decreasing immunity, increases the chance of inflammation of the respiratory mucous membranes, a factor that causes greater phlegm production.
When this production is excessive, the organism, in addition to having difficulty in eliminating it, is still more likely to develop respiratory infections, since the large amount of phlegm favors the proliferation of germs.
Smoking is also a major contributor to lung cancer.
Hands are the main vehicle for the transmission of microorganisms. Therefore, proper hygiene can prevent the spread of several diseases, including those responsible for cough symptoms.
Keep the environment always humid with humidifiers or wet towels and keep your home always ventilated and free of dust and mites.