MOST COUGHS ORIGINATE IN THE RESPIRATORY TRACT, THAT IS THE LUNGS, NASAL PASSAGES, SINUSES, ALSO THE THROAT AND THE BRAIN.
The lungs are branched organs (like an upside down tree), with spongy bubbles at the end of the branches – called alveoli (in place of leaves). Air from outside fills the lungs when we breathe in, the body absorbs the oxygen and passes it into our bloodstream, and on exhalation the excess air is expelled. The airways are covered by a mucous layer and little hairs, called cilia. The cilia move back and forth to force the mucous and any foreign objects out, in the form of a cough, sneeze or runny nose.
CAUSES OF COUGH:
Post nasal drip, allergies, asthma, bronchitis, acid reflux, TB, certain types of medication, viral and bacterial lung and nasal infections, heart failure, and many more.
Treatment of cough depends on what is causing the cough, sometimes this is not as simple to assess and a doctor needs to be consulted.
This generally means a cough that is non-productive, that means there is no phlegm being coughed up. This can be caused by certain blood pressure medications, allergies, exposure to dust or smoke, certain types of infections like whooping cough and croup also cause a dry cough.
The most common treatment of dry cough is a cough suppressant, removing oneself from the cause of the cough – e.g. Medication, smoke. Treating the underlying infection, steam or humidifier
Usually indicates the presence of phlegm, can be accompanied by chest symptoms – tight chest, wheeze or breathing difficulties.
This type of cough is associated with colds, sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma, COPD and other bacterial or viral infections affecting the lungs and sinuses.
Generally these more serious conditions should be treated by a doctor.
SCRATCHY ITCHY COUGH
Usually caused by throat infection, allergies, laryngitis, something stuck in the throat
This can be treated with sucking a lozenge, sipping water, taking allergy medication, a cough syrup, or the infection treated appropriately by a doctor.
M-KEM Pharmacist and Director.