What is Coughing?
Coughing is how your body protects your lungs and respiratory system from objects that are not supposed to enter your body, such as inhaled dust or certain foods.
Occasional coughs are not dangerous – they can actually be good for you. However, if you develop persistent coughs along with other health conditions, you should seek medical attention.
Causes of Coughing
Several factors that can cause coughing include:
The most common virus that causes cough is the flu virus. Although it can be irritating, a cough is actually necessary to expel mucus containing germs out of your lungs. However, if it does not improve, coughing can damage your lungs and lead to other health complications.
Allergies and asthma
If you have an allergy to a particular object or have a history of asthma, inhaling allergens and asthma triggers can cause your lungs to react and attempt to remove those substances.
Mucus (postnasal drip)
When there is sufficient levels of mucus in your respiratory tract, it is possible that this mucus falls down your throat and causes a cough. The appearance of mucus can be caused by flu, sinus infections, allergies, as well as other health problems.
Stomach acid reflux
If you have experienced a heartburn or burning sensation in the lower throat area to the lower chest, it may be due to stomach acid reflux. It can also trigger a cough.
In addition to viruses, allergies, asthma, mucus, and the rise of stomach acid reflux, there are several factors that can trigger coughing. These start from inflammation of the lungs, sleep apnea, to side effects of medications.
Some chronic diseases that can also trigger cough include:
- Sinus infection
- Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Heart failure
- Lung cancer
When to See a Doctor for Coughing
Coughing can be a mild health problem or an indication of a more serious one. For a more accurate diagnosis, consult your doctor to find out the type of cough and seek appropriate treatment for it.
Coughing With Phlegm
Coughing with phlegm is when your cough produces phlegm or mucus. It is your lung’s defense system to block the entry of viruses and bacteria. Therefore, when you have a flu virus, it will usually also cause coughing with phlegm.
Phlegm contains white blood cells that can weaken the work of infection-causing organisms. In addition, phlegm can also trap infectious viruses and bacteria. Thus, phlegm should not be swallowed and should be coughed out immediately.
Dry cough does not produce any phlegm. In general, dry cough usually lasts longer than a cough with phlegm and may worsen at night.
Whooping Cough (Pertusis)
Whooping cough or pertusis is when you cough with screeching sound that comes from your breath. It is something that can occur persistently. Whooping cough is caused by a bacterial infection.
Bloody Cough (Hemoptysis)
Blood produced from a bloody cough or hemoptysis comes from your lungs. Bloody cough is usually an indication of a more serious health problem. In fact, in certain cases it can be life-threatening. Therefore, if you experience coughing up blood, it is best to consult a doctor immediately.
Symptoms of Coughing
If you experience certain unnatural symptoms along with a persistent cough, it is time for you to consult a doctor. These symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Coughing up blood
- Cold sweats at night
- Difficulty sleeping
- Heartburn or burning sensation in the lower throat area to the lower chest
Treatment for Coughing
Treatment for coughing depends on the type and the cause of the cough. A treatment option for coughing is by taking medications. Over-the-counter cough medicines can reduce the intensity of cough (suppressant) or even stimulate the occurrence of cough and stimulate the release of phlegm to be more easily removed (expectorant).
Treatment Cost for Coughing
Treatment cost for coughing varies, depending on your choice of hospital, additional exams, and the severity of the cough. To find out the estimated treatment cost for coughing, find hospital recommendations and make an appointment with a doctor, contact Smarter Health.
Prevention of Coughing
You can prevent coughing by taking measures such as:
Getting influenza vaccine
Flu is a contagious disease and can cause problems and discomfort – which is why vaccination is recommended. You can get the vaccine once a year.
Washing your hands regularly
Viruses that cause coughs and colds can spread from anywhere. Therefore, washing your hands on a regular basis is highly recommended to eliminate viruses and bacteria. When washing your hands, use running water and soap.
Paying attention to any objects that you touch
Avoid touching viral and bacterial contaminated objects, especially in public places. For example, escalator handles and door handles. If possible, open the door using elbows to prevent the transmission of viruses and bacteria into your hands.
Avoid touching the face
Viruses and bacteria can enter through your eyes, nose and mouth. Therefore, do not touch your face especially if you have not washed your hands.
Healthy foods that contain nutrients and multivitamins help the body’s immune system and antibodies. A well-maintained immune system will give you double protection from catching a disease.
Avoid cigarettes and alcohol
In the short term, cigarette smoke can damage the immune system not only for active smokers but passive smokers. In the long run, cigarettes can cause a variety of other chronic diseases, such as male fertility problems.
Excessive consumption of alcohol can also weaken your immune system. You may become more vulnerable to infections or complications.
Exercise can increase your heart rate and strengthen your immune system. Stronger immune system means that your body will fight off any virus that enter your body.
Home Remedies for Coughing
There are many easy and simple remedies to relieve coughs at home. A glass of warm water with a squeeze of lime can help remove mucus.
Inhaling steam mixed with eucalyptus oil can also eliminate mucus in the throat and help you achieve better quality of breathing. Prepare a bowl filled with hot water, bring your face closer to the bowl, then inhale the steam from the hot water.