Dry Coughs Vs Chesty Coughs
If you want to find the right treatment for your cough, you should first work out whether you have a dry or chesty cough. By doing so, you and your family are more likely to get relief and feel better faster.
A dry cough is tickly, irritating and relentless. It doesnt produce any phlegm and is often caused by a viral illness such as cold or flu, allergies or inhaling dust or smoke. To feel better, youll need something to calm and soothe your throat and chest.
Chesty coughs are your bodys way of getting rid of any phlegm that has built up in your airways. This phlegm plays a really important role in trapping bacteria, dust and other particles when you get sick, yet can be difficult to cough up.
To treat a chesty cough, youll need to look for a cough medicine that contains expectorants- active ingredients that can help break up the mucus so your body can get rid of it.
Drink A Cup Of Coffee
Drinking a cup of coffee may also help relieve shortness of breath. Caffeine may help widen the airways, and a 2021 review even suggested that consuming it could help soothe some COVID-19 symptoms and work against SARS-CoV-2.
Caffeines half-life is 3-5 hours, meaning that your body gets rid of half the caffeine content in this time. If caffeine helps to widen your airways, this is the amount of time its likely to have its most noticeable effects.
Chest pain may come on suddenly or over the course of several days. You should expect some chest pain or ache if you get pneumonia. With treatment, any chest pain typically subsides within 4 weeks.
What Does An Expectorant Do
Expectorants are used to treat the symptoms of respiratory tract infections. These types of infections include the common cold, bronchitis and pneumonia. These infections can cause a buildup of mucus in your throat and lungs. You may develop a cough and your chest may hurt due to mucus accumulation. Expectorants help relieve these symptoms.
Expectorants are used to make coughing up mucus easier. They dont stop the cough as cough suppressants do. At times, you want a productive cough you dont want to subdue it. This is because coughing is your bodys way of clearing your airway of bacteria and other germs.
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What Are Cough Medicines
Cough medicines aim either to suppress a dry cough, or to help you to cough up the extra phlegm of a chesty cough when you have a URTI. There is little good evidence that they do help. This is partly because many coughs get better quickly on their own anyway, so it is hard to tell if the medicine has helped or if the cold has simply got better.
Lots of cough medicines are available to buy from pharmacies or supermarkets. They usually contain one or more active ingredient .
A glycerin, honey and lemon cough medicine is also available to buy. This preparation does not have an active ingredient as such. It is thought to have a soothing action.
Cough medicines can also contain other medicines such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Some contain alcohol.
Do I Need To Worry About Any Interactions With Expectorants
If youre taking other medications, its important to speak with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking an expectorant. Expectorants can alter the effects of certain other medications you take. You may have an increased risk of serious side effects as well.
In addition, since expectorants are sometimes combined with other medications, you need to carefully read labels. Certain combination cold and flu medications contain ingredients that may be harmful to you. For instance, some combination medications contain phenylephrine. Phenylephrine can cause high blood pressure and a slow heart rate . Also, phenylephrine may interact with antidepressants and heart medications.
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Drink A Cup Of Ginger Tea
Ginger has also demonstrated anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties in recent research . As with turmeric, current research on ginger hasnt looked at whether it helps specifically with chest pain, but its a harmless, hydrating way to try and soothe the uncomfortable effects of pneumonia.
You can find loose or bagged ginger teas at your local grocery or online. Or, you can use raw ginger to make your own ginger tea.
Your fever may develop suddenly or over the course of a few days. With treatment, it should subside within the week.
Why Does Bronchitis Occur
Acute bronchitis is sometimes referred to as a chest cold. It can develop after an upper respiratory infection , which you probably know better as the common cold.
Bronchitis occurs when the airways that carry air to your lungs, called the bronchial tubes, become inflamed and irritated. Your bronchial tubes produce excess mucus and cause coughing when they become inflamed.
Usually acute bronchitis is not serious. If it isnt treated properly it can develop into pneumonia.
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If You Have Congestion
In the beginning stages of the common cold, it’s not unusual to experience nasal congestion , says Dr. Mandal. Treatments can range from taking a steam vaporizer, drinking plenty of fluids, and using a saline nasal spray.
These types of treatments can loosen up phlegm, help open up the passages, and keep the nasal passages moist, she explains.
Over-the-counter decongestants also help open up the passages by reducing swelling in the nasal passages, adds Dr. Mandal. Nasal sprays such as Afrin and Neo-Synephrine can also be used but should not be used for more than three days at a time because they can cause rebound nasal congestion. Sudafed is another decongestant option that comes in tablet or pill form.
Stuffed Nose And Sneezing
These types of medicines can help you breathe more easily:
Antihistamines block a chemical that makes your nose fill up and run. Studies find antihistamines don’t improve cold symptoms much on their own. But they may work better when combined with a decongestant. Some antihistamines can make you drowsier than others, so be aware of the side effects. You might not get tired, at all. But, you will be even more sedated if you drink alcohol with this medicine. So take precautions and be safe about driving or operating machinery.
shrink swollen blood vessels in the nose to relieve congestion. They come in a pill or nasal spray. Decongestants have the opposite side effect of antihistamines — they can make you jittery. Avoid taking them within a few hours before bed or you might have trouble falling asleep. If you have high blood pressure, ask your doctor if itâs okay to use a decongestant. Also, don’t use a decongestant spray for more than three days in a row. Doing so can make your stuffed nose come back.
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What Is The Most Effective Treatment For A Cough Caused By Pneumonia
The most effective treatment for a cough caused by pneumonia is to treat the underlying cause of the pneumonia, according to Mayo Clinic. Cough syrup can be helpful in reducing the frequency of coughing from patients with pneumonia. However, coughing serves an important purpose for people with pneumonia because it helps them expel phlegm from their lungs. Patients should ask their doctors before using cough syrup.
Pneumonia is an infection of the air sacs of the lungs that is caused by bacteria or viruses, explains Mayo Clinic. For patients with bacterial pneumonia, doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection that is causing a cough. The type of antibiotics prescribed depends on the type of bacteria in the lungs.
It is important to take antibiotics exactly as prescribed, not to miss doses, and to complete the full course of the medication, reports MedlinePlus.
Other suggestions for home remedies to relieve the coughing associated with pneumonia are placing a warm, wet washcloth over the nose and mouth, using a humidifier, using deep breathing techniques and tapping the chest to loosen mucus, according to MedlinePlus. If the pneumonia is severe that it requires hospitalization, patients are treated with intravenous fluids, antibiotics, oxygen therapy and other breathing treatments.
How To Use Cough Medicine Safely
Norman H. Edelman, MD, chief medical officer, American Lung Association professor of medicine, Stony Brook University Medical Center, Stony Brook, N.Y.
Donald R. Rollins, MD, associate professor, pulmonary division, National Jewish Health, Denver, Colo.
American Academy of Pediatrics: “Withdrawal of Cold Medicines: Addressing Parent Concerns.”
FamilyDoctor.org: “Cough Medicine: Understanding Your OTC Options.”
Schroeder, K. Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews, October 2004.
Bosler, D. Chest, January 2006.
Medline Plus: “Guaifenesin.”
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Is Coughing Good For Pneumonia
Coughing is a key symptom of pneumonia, and may bring up discoloured phlegm that is green, yellow or bloody. Though coughing can be painful and unpleasant, it is your bodys natural response to the illness, and helps to clear the lungs of mucus. For this reason, its not recommended that you suppress your cough with cough medicines.
Boiron Chestal For Cough Syrup
Boiron Chestal is a more traditional product in that it is a liquid cough syrup, but it is an all-natural, homeopathic product containing no chemicals and none of the typical medicines found in other over-the-counter options.
Its great-tasting honey flavor and convenient measuring/dosing cup makes it great for kids and, because it is all-natural, it can be taken as often as every 2 hours.
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What Are The Different Types Of Expectorants
Expectorants can be classified as medicinal or natural. The main ingredient in medicinal expectorants helps thin the secretions in your airway. By thinning those secretions, it makes your cough more productive. Medicinal expectorants are available over-the-counter in liquid, pill and tablet forms. Medicinal expectorants include:
- Guaifenesin: Guaifenesin is the most commonly used expectorant. It is the active ingredient in medicines including Mucinex® and Robitussin®. You can find guaifenesin in many common cough, cold and flu medications. In addition, guaifenesin is an active ingredient in over-the-counter decongestants, cough suppressants, antihistamines and pain and fever medications. Guaifenesin is currently the only expectorant approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Guaifenesin hydrates your mucus in order to reduce its stickiness.
- Potassium iodide: Potassium iodide is a prescription-strength expectorant. Your healthcare provider may prescribe potassium iodide if you have a chronic lung disease. Chronic lung diseases can produce excessive mucus, which can complicate your disease. These diseases include asthma, bronchitis and pulmonary emphysema. Potassium iodide helps loosen mucus and makes it easier to cough.
Natural expectorants are another option if youre trying to loosen up mucus and relieve chest congestion. Natural expectorants include:
How Is Pneumonia Treated
When you get a pneumonia diagnosis, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan. Treatment for pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia you have, how sick you are feeling, your age, and whether you have other health conditions. The goals of treatment are to cure the infection and prevent complications. It is important to follow your treatment plan carefully until you are fully recovered.
Take any medications as prescribed by your doctor. If your pneumonia is caused by bacteria, you will be given an antibiotic. It is important to take all the antibiotic until it is gone, even though you will probably start to feel better in a couple of days. If you stop, you risk having the infection come back, and you increase the chances that the germs will be resistant to treatment in the future.
Typical antibiotics do not work against viruses. If you have viral pneumonia, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to treat it. Sometimes, though, symptom management and rest are all that is needed.
Most people can manage their symptoms such as fever and cough at home by following these steps:
If your pneumonia is so severe that you are treated in the hospital, you may be given intravenous fluids and antibiotics, as well as oxygen therapy, and possibly other breathing treatments.
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Best Natural Cough Treatments
There are also many self-care tricks and home remedies that you can use to treat your cough. These can be used alongside over the counter treatments.
Drink plenty of fluids
When you are unwell, your body usually needs extra fluid to replace what it is losing as it fights back. Make sure you drink more such as water, herbal tea or warm water with honey or ginger tea .
Suck a lozenge or cough sweet
To soothe your throat and ease irritation, suck a boiled sweet, throat lozenge, or use a throat spray.
To loosen stubborn mucus, fill a bowl with boiling water, place a tea towel over your head then inhale the steam. Always supervise children closely if using this method.
Clear viruses and bacteria from your throat by mixing salt with warm water, gargling then spitting out. Repeat twice per day.
If youre struggling with your cough symptoms, pop into your local Whitworth Pharmacy for free advice from one of our friendly pharmacists.
What Are The Best Over
Most cases of the common cold can be treated without going to a healthcare provider, there are plenty of over-the-counter cough medicines you can pick up at your local drugstore without a prescription. Some of the more popular OTC, fast treatments for a cough include:
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If you find that OTC cough medicines are not working for you, and your symptoms worsen or persist, your doctor may prescribe medication to help. Considering that the most common causes of coughs are upper respiratory illnesses, and these are most commonly caused by viruses, its unlikely your GP will prescribe any antibiotics as a cough treatment. Antibiotics are only used for bacterial infections, such as strep throat.
If you have a cough that you just cant shake and it lasts more than three weeks, see your doctor and explore the possibility of an underlying condition that may need to be treated with prescription medication.
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More About Dry Coughs
Dry coughs can sometimes be the result of health problems such as asthma, pneumonia, chronic lung disease or even gastric reflux. If a dry cough continues after other symptoms disappear, or if you have a chronic dry cough when you do not have a cold or the flu, see your healthcare provider immediately to determine the cause and get proper treatment.
In most cases, however, a dry cough accompanies a cold or the flu or is simply the result of irritants such as cigarette smoke and dry heated air. Escape from or eliminate the irritants whenever possible and then choose a best medicine for dry cough product to diminish symptoms and make you feel better.
It is very important to distinguish between general cold medicines which combine ingredients to treat multiple symptoms and cough medicines which treat the cough specifically. Never take a cold or flu medicine designed to treat multiple symptoms when you only have a cough.
Among cough medicines, there are expectorants which thin out mucus and suppressants which suppress the cough reflex. Suppressants are the best cough medicine for dry cough.
The products which are listed in our top 10 guide along with the reviews of the top 3 make it easy to select whats right for you and your family.
Can I Look After My Child At Home
Many children with pneumonia can be looked after at home.
- Make sure they get a lot of rest.
- Your child may not want to eat but it is important to make sure they stay hydrated. Give them small amounts to drink regularly.
- If your child is still in nappies you will be able to tell if they are getting enough to drink because they will still get wet nappies.
- If your child has chest or tummy ache you can give them pain relief like paracetamol or ibuprofen made for infants or children.
- Cough medicines dont help with pneumonia.
- Dont smoke around your child or let them breathe in other peoples smoke.
- A high temperature can be scary, but it is a natural response to infection. Dont try and reduce your childs fever by sponging them with water.
Your doctor should give you more information about the best way to look after your child at home. If your childs symptoms get worse, go back to your doctor.
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Natural Chest And Nasal Congestion Relief
If you prefer non-medicinal, all-natural choices, this product is for you. Breathe-Ease Balm is used either externally by rubbing on the chest, temples and neck or is placed in your humidifier to push the scent out into the air.
Made from eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender and peppermint oils, the scent calms the persistent urge to cough and opens airways. The product can be mixed with a small amount of regular lotion to tone down the scent a bit if youre using it on children.
As with all topical products, we recommend that you try a small amount on your wrist or arm to test for any reactions you may have to the ingredients before you spread larger amounts on your body.
Ask About Cough Medicine
You may be tempted to guzzle cough syrup. But keep in mind that coughing is your bodyâs way of trying to clear the mucus out of your lungs, and you need that to happen. So ask your doctor if you should take any cough medicine. If the hacking keeps you from getting enough rest, you may be able to take the smallest dose that lets you fall sleep. Or try a warm mixture of honey and lemon instead.
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