Coughs can be debilitating. However, coughing is the only way we can expel irritants from our airways. To cure a cough, it is, hence, vital to know exactly what is causing it.
Sudden coughs are generally triggered by infectious diseases such as cold or flu. Most coughs go away with home remedies and rest. Nonetheless, it is wise to stay cautious and note if there are any signs of something more serious. These warning signs can range from fever, shortness of breath, wheezing, thicker and darker phlegm, to blood-tinged phlegm. These red flags hint that a cough is being caused by a bacterial infection rather than a viral infection such as bronchitis and pneumonia, or that there is an underlying medical condition. If this is the case, always consult a health care practitioner.
Treating simple coughs with home and over-the-counter remedies
When suffering from a cough, it is important to stay hydrated to thin out mucus. If the air is dry, a cool-mist humidifier can be used in the room to help hydrate the lungs. Other popular home remedies include tea, honey, and chicken soup as the warmth and spices help open up the nasal route. Note that honey should not be fed to infants under one-year-old as it can lead to infant botulism. Here are a few habits to adopt if a minor cough strikes:
- Gargle at least once every hour with 1 teaspoon (5 g) of salt dissolved in 240 ml (8 oz) of warm water.
- Moisten the air to prevent further irritation of mucous membranes. The humidity in the room should be kept at 55%.
- Stay hydrated: Drink water and hot beverages with lemon and honey.
- Elevate the head of your bed in case of nocturnal coughing.
- Take Stodal as soon as a dry or wet cough occurs*. This homeopathic syrup is available for children and adults.
Treating chronic coughs
Chronic coughs are those coughs that last for at least a few weeks. They can have several causes and a health care practitioner needs to diagnose them. Following are some common triggering factors:
Chemicals or other irritants in the environment such as cigarette smoke, dust, mould, and pollen can set off coughing. Those having allergies to irritants may need to take medication to improve their health.
Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) is another cough trigger. It happens when acid found in the stomach splashes up into the esophagus and irritates it. Acid reflux is considered as one of those silent causes of a cough that is common and underdiagnosed because it does not necessarily cause a burning sensation.
*NOTICE – This claim is based on traditional homeopathic references and not modern scientific evidence.
This homeopathic medicine may not be right for everyone. Always read and follow the label.