Health Tips

How and how to treat a cough: dry and wet

Cough is a jerky exhalation, with the help of which the body clears the respiratory tract from foreign irritant particles. The person repeatedly coughs reflexively. And that’s okay. But if the cough is accompanied by high fever , shortness of breath , or does not go away for a long time, this may indicate complications of colds of the upper respiratory tract and more. What are the main causes of cough, what is the difference between a dry cough and a wet one.

What can cause a cough

Cough is a very necessary reflex reaction of the body, aimed at cleaning the respiratory tract from substances that interfere with the breathing process (phlegm, mucus, pus, solid particles). Before treating any cough or eliminating its symptoms, you need to understand the causes of its occurrence: they may not be related to the respiratory system. The nature of the cough, its duration, the presence of concomitant symptoms helps to determine what has become a factor in the development of the pathology and to understand what treatment to use in each case.

1. SARS or a cold

The most common cause of cough is an infectious process caused by the action of viruses. In this case, the primary symptom of the disease is a runny nose: increased production of mucus occurs in the nose, which flows down the back of the throat, has an irritating effect, causing a cough. Also, the patient has a slight increase in body temperature, headache. It is typical for ARVI that the cough can last for about 3 weeks, while other signs of the disease (fever, snot) are already absent.

SARS or a cold

Usually, a cough with a cold is treated fairly quickly and does not pose a serious threat to the body, however, it is important not to miss the development of complications (the addition of a bacterial component to a viral infection, for example. A doctor’s consultation is mandatory if the patient has the following symptoms:

  • In addition to coughing, there is a very high body temperature (38-39 degrees and above), which does not go astray and lasts for several days, rashes on the body, severe headache, fatigue.
  • The patient coughs for more than 3 weeks.
  • The patient’s condition worsened after a temporary improvement: the temperature rose again, signs of intoxication (weakness, headache).
  • The cough gets worse and worse.
  • Pain in the chest.
  • Severe sore throat , swelling of the throat.
  • Difficulty breathing (shortness of breath).
  • The patient coughs up with the release of sputum brown, brown, green, with blood impurities.
  • Sudden weight loss.

In addition to the attending family doctor, whom you can make an appointment with using the Helsi electronic system, you can contact a general practitioner or pediatrician in the best private clinics in your city and online – on the Service Coupon with a discount of up to 70%.

2. Diseases of the digestive system

Cough can be caused by the process of reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus – gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). There is no pathology in the lungs, the main problem is the disruption of the esophageal sphincter, the weakness of its muscles.

When the acid is thrown back into the esophagus, the upper parts of the digestive system, their mucous membrane becomes inflamed, burning, sore throat provokes a cough. In this case, the patient coughs up sputum with a sour taste.

Conventional medicines that relieve cough symptoms (syrups, lozenges) are not effective. You need to consult a gastroenterologist – thanks to the promotions from the Poupon, you can save up to 75% at the reception. You will also need an additional examination – tests (discounts up to 65%), ultrasound ( in combination with a consultation with a gastroenterologist – with discounts up to 85%). Based on the results of the diagnosis, the doctor prescribes treatment and gives recommendations aimed at minimizing the reflux from the stomach into the esophagus and lowering the acidity of the stomach:

  • change in eating behavior: eat often, in small portions;
  • dietary adjustment: exclude foods that increase the acidity of the stomach (fatty, fried, chocolate, tomatoes, citrus fruits, onions, garlic);
  • fight against excess weight ;
  • giving up bad habits ( smoking , alcohol );
  • sleep on a high pillow, do not take a horizontal position immediately after eating;
  • taking medications to control stomach acidity.

3. Allergic reaction

Diseases with an allergic component are often accompanied by a cough. Depending on the organ of the respiratory system that has been exposed to the allergen, the following types of allergic diseases are distinguished:

  • Allergic pharyngitis.
  • Allergic tracheitis.
  • allergic bronchitis.
  • Bronchial asthma.

Allergic reaction

Unlike other diseases, allergic cough is characterized by:

  • sudden onset of persistent, irritating dry cough, without phlegm;
  • no signs of inflammation in the respiratory organs (throat not red), intoxication (high fever, headache);
  • in history – other manifestations of allergies (dermatitis, hay fever);
  • the presence of close relatives with allergies (hereditary factor);
  • in addition to coughing – itchy rashes on the body, runny nose with clear discharge, lacrimation.

4. Diseases of the heart and blood vessels

Sometimes the presence of a dry, debilitating, loud cough is a consequence of problems with the cardiovascular system – myocarditis, heart failure, but this is the topic of our other article and a reason to think about consulting a cardiologist to identify real factors. If you decide to seriously examine the cardiovascular system and troubleshoot it, you can make an appointment with a cardiologist in the direction of a family doctor, but it is often more convenient to take advantage of profitable promotions on Poupon and simultaneously undergo a comprehensive examination with hardware cardiodiagnostics, ECG with decoding and description , analyzes and the appointment of a treatment program with solid discounts that are never superfluous.

5. Hormonal disorders

Disorders of the endocrine system, hormonal imbalance can provoke a cough symptom . So, for example, an enlarged thyroid gland compresses the trachea, causing irritation of its receptors, soreness, a sensation of a lump in the throat, and shortness of breath . A reflex occurs, designed to free the airways from the squeezing factor – an irritating, barking cough.

In case of hormonal failures, it is necessary to contact an endocrinologist and undergo a thorough examination: it is more convenient and profitable to do this in a complex way, according to the promotion from Pokupon – in addition to consulting a doctor, offers often include ultrasound, tests and other diagnostics, discounts on services are up to 70%.

6. Psychoneurological causes

Various psycho-neurological factors, diseases of the autonomic nervous system can provoke coughing attacks. The psycho-emotional background can change under the influence of factors such as public speaking in front of the audience, there is a somatic manifestation in the form of a cough.

The search for the cause, fixation on the cough syndrome entails neuroses, depressive and anxiety states. It is characteristic that such a psychogenic cough without sputum rarely manifests itself at night and during relaxing, comfortable activities. The symptom requires a comprehensive examination , the exclusion of all possible causes of coughing, in case of confirmation of the psychogenic component, the help of a psychotherapist is needed.

How to distinguish a wet cough from a dry one

Dry cough

Dry cough is the result of inflammation of the upper respiratory tract, and causes irritation of the receptors by foreign bodies and swelling of the mucous membranes of the respiratory system. The character of a dry cough is loud, “tearing”, sometimes whistling, exhausting, felt like a cough from the “throat”. The patient coughs without sputum, therefore such a cough is called unproductive, expressed in short or prolonged attacks.

Dry cough

Well-known sources of unproductive dry cough are pathological changes in the organs of the upper (pharyngitis, laryngitis, epiglottitis, bronchial asthma) and lower (tracheitis, pneumonia, bronchitis, tumor lesions of the lungs) respiratory tract. However, dry cough can be the result of diseases of the central nervous system, heart disease, with strong emotional stress and stress. Have you noticed that when excited and anxious, a person involuntarily begins to cover his mouth with his hand and cough? This is due to the psychogenic factor.

An unproductive cough develops with thermal, mechanical, chemical effects and atrophic processes – sometimes a dry cough stops completely when these provoking factors are removed. Under thermal processes is meant pressure on the airborne bodies, metastases, the ingress of external foreign bodies into the lungs. Smoke and dust, a sharp change in cold and hot air act as thermal irritants. Chemical effects on the respiratory tract are carried out during residence or prolonged stay in contaminated areas (factories, mines). Dry cough is also observed in measles, whooping cough, parapertussis and mycoplasmosis.

Wet cough

A wet cough is not as debilitating as a dry cough and is called productive because of the presence of sputum when coughing, which is most often a step towards recovery.

Wet cough is characterized by different amounts of sputum discharge: they can be plentiful (sputum is well expectorated) and not very much in the case of highly viscous mucus. It is easy to recognize – it is bubbling, loud, felt in the lungs and bronchi, comes from the chest. Coughing with phlegm is a serious threat for children – they have narrower airways, and the chest muscles are not as strong compared to adults, so it is harder for them to cough up. Also, sputum in children during expectoration is thicker and more difficult to depart, causing a complication – pneumonia.

A productive wet cough develops with bronchiectasis of the lungs, bronchial asthma and bronchitis, tuberculosis, lung abscess, ingress of blood from the vessels into the lung tissue during edema.

If a productive cough is not treated, then the sputum stagnates, the risk of developing a secondary bacterial infection increases, since such conditions are ideal for the bacterial flora.

When diagnosing a wet cough, the color of the outgoing sputum is important – it determines the nature of the pathology:

  • the transparent color of the outgoing sputum signals the norm;
  • white color means the presence of inflammation in the airways;
  • yellow or green sputum indicates the presence of SARS, bronchitis, obstructive pulmonary disease, the initial stage of pneumonia;brown or purulent mucus with blood characterizes a severe form of pneumonia, cystic fibrosis, bronchitis, and sometimes a lung abscess.

How to treat a dry cold cough with SARS

A dry cough is not accompanied by sputum production, so it can be quite painful, as it causes tension in the back and chest and irritation of the throat mucosa. Such a terrible cough can provoke nosebleeds, headaches, increased pressure, asthma attacks and severe vomiting.

In the treatment of severe dry cough, it is necessary to use drugs that suppress coughing attacks, reduce their intensity, and normalize the secretion and sensitivity of the respiratory tract.

First of all, a dry cough must be made productive, with sputum discharge. Make sure that the air in the sick room is not dry. To do this, you need to regularly ventilate the room, carry out wet cleaning, if possible, maintain the required level of humidity with a humidifier (there are excellent options on Pokupon with cashback and door-to-door delivery from Nova Poshta), drink as much warm drink as possible.

dry cold

Pharmacological preparations for cough should act according to the following principles:

  • Softening the lining of the throat to eliminate regular or persistent bouts of coughing. Syrups are perfect for this: “Pectolvan Ivy”, “Bronholitin”, “Gerbion”, “Bronchicum”. Folk home remedies will help soften an irritated throat: saline and infusions of chamomile, thyme, coltsfoot herbs – they need to gargle. Also, to relieve inflammation and soften the mucosa, you can drink warm milk with honey inside (in the absence of an allergy to the product).
  • Decreased sensitivity of receptors that transmit a signal to the cough center. Pharmaceutical products will effectively help with this – cough drops and aerosols, and from folk remedies it is recommended to drink herbal infusions from the color of linden or chamomile, buckwheat, tea with raspberries or lemon, and be sure to include inhalation in the treatment – for this you can use a nebulizer (or by breathe over steam in the old fashioned way, but it is more convenient to do this over a steam inhaler , which, in addition, is useful at home for cosmetic purposes), adding medicines to the container that will help calm the receptors. One of the effective inhalations is with the addition of drops of eucalyptus oil. Remember that the inhalation procedure is done only in the absence of a high temperature, but if you are attacked by fever and chills, rather read our article onhow to bring down a high temperature .
  • Suppression of cough at the level of the cough center will lead to a decrease in debilitating symptoms. In this case, modern medicine uses narcotic and more sparing, non-narcotic groups of drugs. The main components of narcotic cough medicines are codeine or dextromethorphan. Means of this group are used in extreme cases, if it is not possible to eliminate the cough with a safe drug, and are released strictly by prescription. Non-narcotic drugs are more advanced drugs, the use of which does not cause addiction and negative effects on the respiratory organs. The component composition contains the substances butamirate, oxeladin and glaucine, which not only restrain coughing attacks, but also, by reducing airway resistance, facilitate breathing and actively enrich the blood with oxygen. Butamirat,

When a dry cough occurs due to a cold, antiviral agents are used in addition to treatment.

If the cough does not go away within 7-10 days, you need to take a mandatory blood test to determine what became the source of the infection – a virus or a bacterium . This can be done in a regular polyclinic at the place of residence (if there is a referral from a general practitioner or family doctor, to whom you need to make an appointment in advance ) or use the faster method and take a blood test in a private laboratory, also with a discount of up to 65% of the Coupon.

If the cold turns out to be bacterial and is accompanied by a high fever for 4-5 days, the doctor may prescribe antibiotic therapy.

Allergic cough treatment

Allergic cough most often occurs suddenly and lasts a long time, is rough and barking in nature. An allergic reaction occurs when the respiratory organs are hypersensitive to allergens entering the bronchi. Diagnosis and treatment of allergic cough is to look for possible predisposing allergens. In addition, only on the basis of an analysis of the patient’s medical history and laboratory results can one find out the exact cause of the allergy. If you are tormented by an allergic dry cough, and you cannot determine its source, you need to seek advice from an allergist or immunologist, undergo an organism diagnosis, and pass tests for allergens . Look for the necessary specialists in the Pokupon catalog in the diagnostics and treatment sectionor upon request in the quick search field – promotional offers on the site are replenished daily.

Treatment for allergic cough includes:

  • taking antihistamines, such as Diazolin, Zodak, Erius, which help to temporarily cope with allergies and eliminate a sore throat provoked by a coughing fit;
  • nasal lavage ;
  • exclusion of allergens that can be detected using special tests , and a course of inhalation using saline sodium chloride;
  • taking sorbents (“Karbovit”, “Antralen”, “Atoxil”, “Sorbogel” or activated carbon), as they act from the inside – they absorb allergens, neutralizing them;
  • in severe cases, when a suffocating, nocturnal or daytime, allergic cough begins and the patient suffocates, Prednisolone and Dexamethasone are prescribed.

How to treat stenotic cough in children

No less dangerous subspecies of dry cough – stenotic cough – a companion of laryngitis

If timely measures are not taken in the treatment of laryngitis, it can give complications in the form of stenosis – narrowing of the lumen of the larynx, which in turn leads to a common childhood disease – croup.

For a small child, croup is dangerous because during its attacks the patient can suffocate. As a rule, by the age of 6, children outgrow this disease. Until this age, the first-aid kit of parents should always contain an inhaler, Pulmicort and the necessary injection – the hormone prednisolone or dexamethasone.

Usually, with a night attack, only pulmicort inhalation helps (in no case hot, but at room temperature), but if after 15 minutes the inhalation did not work positively and the child’s condition did not improve, you need to give an injection (read our article how to do it right ) and wait for the ambulance to arrive. In the absence of knowledge or experience on how to behave during an attack of croup, it is recommended not to take any action until the ambulance arrives. At this time, you need to ventilate the room well, take the child in your arms (to give a vertical position), and ask him to breathe slowly and deeply.

Asthmatic cough and chronic bronchitis – treatment

Inflammatory processes in the bronchi – bronchial asthma and chronic bronchitis – have similar symptoms:

  • a strong cough (dry or wet), which gets worse towards the end of the day;
  • shortness of breath – with the narrowing of the bronchi, the flow of oxygen to the lungs is difficult;
  • sensitivity to factors such as physical activity, the action of allergens, viruses: they can cause a relapse of the disease.

Unlike chronic bronchitis, which is characterized by exacerbations 1-3 times a year, a wet cough with a large waste of thick sputum and fever, asthma attacks occur much more often, accompanied by suffocation (the patient suffocates), especially at night.

Bronchitis treatment

If, against the background of ARVI, with a wet cough, your body temperature rises and lasts for several days, your health worsens, sputum becomes larger and it acquires one of the above shades , a qualified therapist or pediatrician can make an accurate diagnosis by evaluating the general condition, the results of a blood test . radiography and listening to the lungs – all of the listed laboratory tests can be done using the coupon discounts on the links.

An expectorant cough in a child is most often a sign of the development of acute inflammation due to a cold. This signals that the disease has descended into the bronchi, or, even worse, into the bronchioles and alveoli – bronchitis has developed. With delayed treatment, there is a risk of developing pneumonia. Do not treat children with a cold on their own, contact an experienced pediatrician to establish an accurate diagnosis.

Bronchitis treatment

The treatment of bronchitis consists in eliminating the inflammatory process in the bronchi and combating a wet cough, which is carried out by taking three consecutive measures:

  1. Treatment of the inflammatory process. Inflammation provokes pulmonary edema, narrowing the inner lumen of the bronchi, which prevents sputum from leaving. Fenspiride, a component that effectively fights inflammation in the bronchi and relieves spasms, has a good effect on restoring the normal lumen of the bronchi. The component is part of the preparations – “Epistat”, “Siresp”, “Eladon” and “Erespal”. From folk remedies, herbal teas from thyme, licorice, coltsfoot have anti-inflammatory effects. A particularly effective folk way to treat cough in the presence of wheezing is a potato compress, which is done only in the absence of high temperature.
  2. Mucus liquefaction. Mucolytics effectively cope with sputum liquefaction – drugs with active ingredients ambroxol, bromhexine, acetylcysteine: Lazolvan, Ambrohexal, Bromhexine Berlin-Chemie, Fluimucil, ACC.
  3. Conclusion of sputum from the bronchi. Mucokinetics are a number of drugs that make sputum output more intense: Guaifenesin and Hexo Broncho, but they are not recommended for children under 12 years of age, an adult is contraindicated only in case of peptic ulcer. Help bring sputum out and the above mucolytics. An effective home remedy for removing sputum is soda inhalation, and among herbs that have expectorant properties, plantain, primrose and marshmallow, as well as licorice, are distinguished.

If you decide to use folk remedies to combat wet cough, do not forget that this is only an adjunctive therapy to relieve symptoms in combination with the main treatment prescribed by your doctor.

Treatment of bronchitis is a complex process, so the use of monotherapy, for example, the use of only anti-inflammatory drugs, will not give a positive end result. In this regard, recently combined agents have been widely used that can simultaneously relieve inflammation, reduce the viscosity of sputum and promote its excretion – these include Doctor Mom, Codelac Broncho. A wet cough can be a sign of a serious illness such as pneumonia, which, if treated incorrectly or out of time, leads to serious consequences, so choose a treatment method only after consulting a therapist or , in the case of a child’s illness, an experienced pediatrician .

Treatment of bronchial asthma

Patients with bronchial asthma require constant monitoring by a pulmonologist and careful selection of drugs, since each case has its own individuality. Treatment most often consists of the use of anti-asthma drugs, which must be inhaled using inhalers (individual or nebulizers) that spray the active substance in the form of drops, or turbuhalers (for spraying the drug in powder form). Such devices allow you to deliver the drug directly to the bronchi and lungs.

Treatment of bronchial asthma

What to do if the cough does not go away for a long time

If the cough drags on and does not go away for a long time (from 3 weeks to 3 months), then you should show concern and visit a general practitioner , pediatrician , be sure to take an x-ray of the respiratory system, take tests .

Often the cause of a prolonged cough is self-medication, lack of adequate treatment, advanced disease.

Errors in diagnosis are possible, the wrong cause of the disease , and there can be many of them, we wrote about this above.

A persistent cough in adults can be a manifestation of the “smoker’s syndrome” – when a healthy, if you can call it a smoker, person constantly coughs with strong sputum production. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, in which irreversible processes occur in the lungs and bronchi – constant shortness of breath even at rest, is also a powerful foundation for a wet cough. The first step is to get rid of harmful addiction, quit smoking , without this, all measures to treat destructive processes in the respiratory system will be useless, such a cough will not be cured.

What to do when pregnant with a cough

According to statistics, the body of a pregnant woman is three times more susceptible to attack by viruses and bacteria, especially in the first three months, since the immune system is weakened. During this period, even the simplest viral colds are more difficult to tolerate, to say nothing of chronic diseases. Since odors and other irritants are especially acute during this period, an allergy may be the cause of the cough – in this case, to get rid of the cough, it may be enough to eliminate the allergen. If it is not possible to identify it by analysis.

What to do when pregnant with a cough

In the first trimester of pregnancy, a strong cough can provoke a miscarriage due to the resulting uterine tone. The second trimester is safer, but if the cough is not treated, it can cause fetal hypoxia or placental abruption. In the third trimester, coughing can cause uterine hypertonicity, which increases the risk of preterm labor.

How to treat cough in pregnant women

A significant part of cough medicines is not recommended or contraindicated during pregnancy, so do not self-medicate, but get a consultation from a family doctor , according to the promotions that you will find on the Coupon.

Cough during pregnancy is treated strictly according to the doctor’s prescription, and compliance with general preventive recommendations will benefit you and your unborn baby:

  • The air humidity in the room where you are should be at least 60%. For those who like healthy purchases for the home, Pokupon provides a diverse selection of humidifiers with a pleasant opportunity to receive cashback and delivery from Nova Poshta. The air should be not only moist, but also clean – do wet cleaning regularly.
  • Review your diet – nutrition should be balanced, rich in vitamins and minerals. Tips and advice on proper nutrition you can find in our heading beauty and health .
  • Drink plenty of fluids – various teas, compotes, juices. Drinking water must be of good quality or purified with a filter , which can be purchased on Pokupon without overpaying, but rather receiving part of the money spent back (cashback) to your personal account. Also, a high level of moisture in the body helps to moisturize the mucous membranes, and “wash out” the toxins formed during infectious inflammations.
  • Effective in the treatment of dry cough during pregnancy are inhalations with a decoction of lime blossom, sage, and with a wet cough – chamomile, eucalyptus, primrose. If the cough does not have an advanced form, then you will feel relief the very next day after the start of treatment.

Melissa Goslin

Melissa Goslin is a highly skilled and passionate health articles writer who possesses an exceptional ability to convey complex medical concepts in a clear and accessible manner. With a background in health sciences and a deep understanding of various healthcare topics,

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