A cough is your body’s way of responding when something irritates your throat or airways. A cough may accompany a common cold, or be due to allergies, lung disease, or even gastrointestinal problems.
The main reason you cough is to help your body eliminate mucus from your lungs and upper airway passage. In this way, your body keeps your breathing easy. In some cases, you can easily determine the underlying reason for your coughing. However, this can also be a mystery. There are various factors that can help you identify the cause, including the sound of your cough and the accompanying symptoms. This is very important so you can recover faster.
Today, we have seven reasons for a cough, and what do to about them.
7 Common Reasons for Cough
- Postnasal Drip
- An allergy or cold can cause mucus to drip down the throat. This postnasal drip can touch on nerve endings, which will result in a wet or dry cough. In most cases, a cough caused by postnasal drip is worse at night. You may also experience a scratchy feeling at the back of the throat. If allergies are the cause of postnasal drip, you may also experience sneezing or itchy eyes.
- A sinus infection is manifested by postnasal drip accompanied by pressure in your face, thick green or yellow mucus, congestion, and colds symptoms lasting for more than 10 days. According to a 2007 study, saline irrigation can reduce nasal congestion and provide better effects than saline sprays. It thins the mucus, reduces swelling in the nasal passages and eliminates bacteria, allergens, debris, and inflammatory substances found in your nose, which in turn reduces swelling, the main cause of your breathing difficulty.
- In order to prepare your saline solution, you should add 1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt or sea salt to 1 pint of distilled water. It is very important to use a saline solution that does not have benzalkonium, a preservative that can only impair your nasal function.
- The main sign of asthma is a dry cough accompanied with a rattling or wheezing sound. In this case, there will be an inflammation of your airways, which leads to wheezing, coughing and breathing difficulty. In most cases, cough due to asthma worsens while exercising or at night. You may also experience fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. It is very important to bring your breathing volume back to normal (to reverse the chronic over-breathing). With a normal breathing, you will have better oxygenation of organs and tissues. Those suffering from asthma, should also pay great attention to their gut health and vitamin D levels.
- GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
- After food passes through your esophagus in your stomach, the lower esophageal sphincter closes, which in turn prevents food or acid to move back up. Acid reflux or also known as GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes inappropriately, allowing acid from the stomach to flow back into the esophagus. GERD is the second most-common cause of chronic cough.
- This cough is worst when you are eating or lying down. It may be related with other GERD symptoms, including heartburn. However, in 75% of cases, chronic cough is the only symptom. Even though GERD is thought to be caused by excessive amounts of acid in the stomach, in fact GERD occurs from having too little acid in the stomach. This is the main reason why drugs like proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) make the problem worse.
- To treat heartburn and acid indigestion, it is very important to restore your natural gastric balance and function. You should avoid the excessive consumption of processed foods and sugar because they can only upset the bacterial balance in the stomach and intestine. Instead, make sure to include more vegetables and other unprocessed foods in your. Also, avoid caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes. Another extremely important thing is to make sure you are getting enough beneficial bacteria from your diet.
- In this way, you can balance your bowel flora, thus eliminating H. pylori bacteria. You can also take betaine hydrochloric supplement, which is easily found in most health food stores.
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- If you are having a chronic cough and excess mucus, your cough may be caused by COPD. In most cases, the cough is worst in the morning. You may also experience fatigue, chest tightness, wheezing, and shortness of breath. In most cases, smoking is the main cause of COPD, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. If you have emphysema, the air sacs in the lungs lose their elasticity and start to worsen while chronic bronchitis occurs when there is a swelling in the linings of the lungs.
- Medication-Related Cough
- ACE inhibitors are drugs used to treat high blood pressure. In 20% of patients, they cause a dry cough. If you experience a cough a few weeks after taking this medication, you should know that these drugs are the cause of it. However, high blood pressure can also be treated with lifestyle changes. If you are suffering from high blood pressure, dietary changes can help in controlling your levels.
- The main cause of high blood pressure is related to our body producing too much insulin and leptin in response to a high-carbohydrate and processed-food diet. The best thing you should do is to avoid processed foods because they are high in sugar/fructose, trans fat, and grains. You can also improve your blood pressure and heart healthy by starting some fitness program.
- Usually, pneumonia starts out as a dry cough. With time, it progresses into a wet cough with green, red or yellow mucus. You may also experience trouble breathing, fever, chills, or pain when coughing or breathing in deeply. Whenever you cough up excess phlegm and mucus, you should spit it out, not swallow it because swallowing the excess mucus can lead to irritation to your stomach. People suffering from pneumonia can recover at home by getting rest and drinking lots of fluids. However, if your condition is severe, it may require hospitalization to receive breathing treatments, oxygen therapy, and fluids.
- Whooping Cough (Pertussis)
- Whooping cough can lead to a severe cough that in many cases ends up with a whooping sound. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevented confirmed that from January 1 to June 16, 2014, there were 10,000 cases of pertussis or whooping cough. There was a 24% increase in comparison with the same time period in 2013. The Centers for Disease Control claim that the most effective way to prevent whooping cough is to get vaccinated. However, their data shows that 84% of children under the age of 3 received at least three vaccines and yet, their whooping cough still keeps circulating. It is clear that the vaccine is ineffective and it is failing to prevent whooping coughs.
If you have whopping cough, you should immediately seek medical attention.
However, we have some natural treatments that may be of great help:
- Avoid milk, sugar, eggs, and flour because they are mucus-forming foods.
- Include more vegetables in your diet as well as soups with garlic, and herbal teas.
- Keep your body hydrated
- Try up to 5,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily for 7
- Keep your room and home free of smoke and well-ventilated.
- Wild cherry bark lozenges may soothe your throat.
- Massage essential oils with a carrier oil onto your chest or back
- You can try Acupuncture
- Use a warm air humidifier with essential oils (try basil, cyprus, marjoram, thyme, wintergreen, tea tree, camphor, lavender, chamomile, peppermint, or eucalyptus).
- Make sure to arrange pillows so you can be more upright while sleeping.
- Boil fresh ginger root in water for 20 minutes. Then, add the water to a foot bath and soak your feet for 20 minutes.
- Boil some water and add a few drops of oil thyme. Breathe in the steam and cover your head with a towel.
- Massage your skin with a coconut oil to keep it hydrated.
What Works to Soothe a Cough?
Usually, uncomplicated colds lead to coughs, and they last between eight and nine days. However, 25% last 2 weeks, and 5-10% last 3 weeks. The state of your immune system and your general lifestyle habits are the main factors that have a great influence on how your cold is resolved. Even though many people use over-the-counter drugs and cold remedies, you should know that these drugs will not speed up your recovery.
Honey, on the other side, is a much healthier option. According to the World Health Organization, honey can act as a demulcent, a substance that forms a protective film, thus relieving irritation in your mouth or throat. Many experts claim that honey works also as a dextromethorphan and has the ability to soothe a cough and related sleeping difficulties caused by upper respiratory tract infections. Honey-lemon cough syrup recipe is an effective way to treat your cough.
Note: Parents are recommended not to give honey to children under the age of 1 year!
Source: Best Healthy Guide