COUGHING is what you do when something bugs your throat, whether it is dust or postnasal drip.
Coughing also helps clear your lungs and windpipe.
Many coughs, like those from cold and flu, will go away on their own.
However, if your cough is caused by a more serious medical condition, you need to treat the cause. Whatever the reason, if coughing fits are driving you crazy, there are ways to feel better.
Drink plenty of fluids or use a cool-mist humidifier or vaporiser to soothe an irritated throat and loosen mucus.
Prop your head up on extra pillows at night and have some honey before bed as studies show it can help ease a cough.
Calming a ‘wet’ cough
If you are coughing up mucus, look for a cough medicine that says ‘expectorant’ or in Spanish ‘mucolitico’, that loosens mucus to help you cough it up.
If you are coughing up a lot of mucus, check with your doctor to see what the best cough medicine is for you.
Also, talk to your doctor before using cough medicine for serious conditions like emphysema, pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, or asthma.
Calming a ‘dry’ cough
You may get a dry cough with a cold or the flu, or if you breathe in something irritating like dust or smoke.
A cough suppressant helps stop your urge to cough.
Plus, it can help you sleep better.
Cough drops, or even sucking on hard sweets, can stop the tickle in the back of your throat.
Cough medicine and children
Never give cough medicine to children younger than four because it can have serious side effects.
For children aged four to six years old, ask your paediatrician before giving them any cough and cold medicines.
Will antibiotics stop a cough?
Usually, no. That is because most coughs are caused by viral infections like cold or flu and will get better in a week.
Antibiotics only work on infections caused by bacteria.
If your cough is not better after a week, see your doctor to make sure it is not caused by a bacterial illness like a sinus infection or pneumonia.
Coughs from allergies and asthma
Allergies can make you sneeze, cough, or both.
An antihistamine may help and some of the newer ones won’t make you sleepy.
If you are also wheezing – where your breath sounds like whistling – you may have asthma and need to see your doctor.