Coughing is perhaps one of the most common health problems that frequently affects both children and adults.
A cough is an involuntary or voluntary act that helps your throat expel mucus, foreign particles, microbes and irritants. It also involves rapid air expulsion from the lungs.
When you cough, it means that there is a blockage in your throat and your brain tells your body to dispel the foreign element through coughing.
Two kinds of coughs exist : non-productive and productive.
Productive cough usually comes with mucus or phlegm, to clear the lungs.
In non-productive cough, also called dry cough, there is no sign of mucus or phlegm.
Causes of a Cough
A cough can be as a result of a number of things . Below are a few causes :
• Common cold
• Viral infection
• Health problems like asthma, tuberculosis or even lung cancer
• Environmental problems
• Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Symptoms of a Cough
• Itchy throat
• Chest pain
Here are a few preventive tips :
• Quit smoking
• Have a healthy and nutritious diet to boost your immunity and help combat diseases and infections
• Keep your house and work environment well ventilated
• Stay away from allergy triggers and irritants .
• When coming in contact with people who have a respiratory infection, take proper measures to protect yourself
• Maintain proper hygiene, wash your hands regularly to avoid germ transmission
When should you see a Doctor?
Since the cough is often a manifestation of an underlying condition, we suggest you seek medical attention if your coughing pasts well beyond three weeks without any sort of improvement.
Your doctor will help find out the root cause of the problem and start proper treatment immediately. This is important, as a persistent cough is often a sign that you’re suffering from something serious.
The following symptoms, apart from persistent coughing could indicate that you should see a doctor :
• Swelling in the neck area
• Difficulty swallowing
• Blood in phlegm
• Pain in chest
• Severe coughing
• Persistent fever
• Breathing problems
Natural Expectorant to treat Cough
This is a cough remedy that is known to work. It can be useful in clearing respiratory issues, including coughs.
It has antiviral and antibacterial benefits that make its infection clearing more effective.
Garlic can also be used as a chest rub or as a steam inhalant and can be taken internally.
Simply eat a clove of crushed garlic mixed with some honey. Do this thrice a day.
You can also boil about two cloves of garlic in one cup of water and then add one teaspoon of oregano to it. Let it cool, add a little honey and drink twice a day.
As an alternative, you can boil some water and add one teaspoon of chopped garlic into it. Then take the boiled water out of the heat and place on a table. Lean over it with a towel above your head and inhale the vapour. This remedy should, however, not be used on kids.
You could mix garlic oil with olive oil and use as a chest rub.
Peppermint encourages the body to expel mucus from your airways which helps in treating cough.
Menthol, a compound found in peppermint is responsible for thinning out the mucus and breaking down the phlegm.
Peppermint’s antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties help get rid of the infection that may have caused the cough.
To use, here are several ways
• Add a drop of peppermint oil in a pot of hot water and inhale the vapour.
• Mix some coconut oil and peppermint oil together and rub on your chest, nose and neck to unclog your sinuses and enjoy relaxed breathing.
• You can also simply drink peppermint tea everyday to get rid of the cough symptoms.
Ginger is a well-known natural expectorant, you could easily find it in your kitchen.
It is often packed with antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antitussive and antibacterial properties that can help you in getting rid of the cough. Plus, your immune system is boosted and recovers speedily.
Here are a few ways to use:
• Mix a tablespoon of ginger juice that has been freshly extracted with a tablespoon of raw honey and drink twice everyday.
• Cut some fresh ginger into tiny pieces and slightly crush them. Put in a cup of water and boil. Drink four times a day.
• You could also mix equal amounts of ginger juice, lemon juice and onion juice and take a tablespoon of the mixture thrice a day.
Licorice root can help soothe irritated throat while also suppressing cough.
The best way to treat your cough with licorice is to drink its tea. To make, simply add half a teaspoon of licorice root to a cup of hot water. Steep for ten minutes before drinking it. Have the tea thrice everyday.
You could also mix half a teaspoon of licorice powder with some honey and drink twice a day for a few days.
You could get some licorice candies and suck on them.
Simply gargling salt water will help thin mucus and make it a lot easier to expel while coughing.
Saline water is an excellent natural expectorant and aids in alleviating irritation in the throat that comes with coughing constantly. It also helps dislodge the phlegm that could be hanging out, making for easy expulsion.
Plus, when the saline water is warm, it helps heal inflamed Airways.
Here’s how to use:
• Bring a cup of water to a boil and allow to cool a bit
• Add a teaspoon of salt and stir till the salt mixes in properly.
• Gargle with the saline water thrice a day.
Honey can provide fast relief for cough as it possesses antibacterial, immune-boosting and antioxidant properties which help ease cough and other associated symptoms.
Here are a few ways to use:
• Add a tablespoon of raw honey to one glass of warm water and drink slowly. Do this a few times daily. It will help soothe the cough’s effect on your throat.
• You can consume a mixture of half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder and a teaspoon of raw honey before going to bed. You’ll sleep better.
• You could also mix a teaspoon of lemon juice and two of raw honey. Drink it every few hours. The symptoms will disappear eventually.