- A cough is only a symptom, not the problem.
- Coughing clears the lungs and airways.
There are three kinds of coughs:
- Productive - This brings up mucus of phlegm
- Nonproductive - This is a dry cough
- Reflex - This is a cough that comes from a problem somewhere else, like the ear or stomach
Common causes of coughing are:
- Tobacco Smoke
- Dry Air
- Infections. Examples are bronchitis, colds, and the flu
- Allergies and postnasal drip
- Acid reflux from the stomach that comes with heartburn
- Something lodged in your windpipe
- Symptom of medical conditions. Example: tuberculosis
- Avoid close contact with anyone with upper-respiratory illnesses
- Wash hands regularly
- Don't share drinking glasses or eating utensils
- Replace your toothbrush after an illness and/or every two months
For coughs that bring up mucus:
- Don't smoke; avoid secondhand smoke
- Drink plenty of fluids, such as water, hot tea, and fruit juices. These help loosen mucus and soothe a sore throat.
- Use a cool-mist vaporizer in your room
- Take a shower. The steam can thin the mucus
- Take an over-the-counter expectorant or cough medicine containing guaifenesin
For coughs that are dry:
- Drink liquids. Drink tea with lemon and honey
- Suck on cough drops or hard candy
- Take an over-the-counter cough medicine that contains dextromenthorphan as directed
Diagnostic tests may include a chest x-ray. Antibiotics may be prescribed to fight an infection. If they are prescribed, be sure to take the entire antibiotic you are given.