A cough is the way the lung protects itself from irritated or
obstructed airways. A dry cough does not produce any phlegm and
is tickly and tight. It is generally caused by a virus. A productive
cough produces sputum the colour of which is very important (an
infection would show up green, yellow or rusty thick mucous).
Blood in the sputum may be dangerous. Croup is a harsh bark in
infants - there is often difficulty in breathing and a noise in
the throat on breathing in (stridor). Whooping cough starts with
catarrh and develops into fits of coughing so severe the child
has to "whoop" to breathe in. Smoking causes coughing as it irritates
Care must be taken with age limits on cough bottles. You should
distinguish whether the cough is dry or productive. If it is productive,
then does the sputum have any colour? Other associated symptoms
may include a cold, sore throat or catarrh. There may be a temperature
and general aches and pains.
A cough medicine should work within 5 days. Generally speaking
a cough should not last longer than two weeks.
- Certain cough syrups are unsuitable for diabetics due to their
- Asthmatics should see the pharmacist about any cough.
- Many prescription medicines can cause a cough, so call in to
your local pharmacist if you are taking medication on prescription.
- If you are suffering from heart disease or if you are pregnant
ask to speak to the pharmacist.
People getting coughs and colds regularly may benefit from a good
course of vitamins especially if their cough or chest infection
requires an antibiotic. Smokers with a cough may be interested
in kicking the habit. NICORETTE chewing gum and
the nicotine patch and inhalator may help relieve the nicotine
craving. Your local pharmacist or healthcare advisor will be able
to help you in your choice of nicotine replacement preparation.
We keep a stock of Vaporisers and Humidifiers for rental.
Coughs can often be due to what is called postnasal drip. This
means that fluid from the sinuses drips back into the throat at
night and causes an irritating cough, which can cause loss of
sleep. A good decongestant can help here. Sore throats can often
result from a persistent dry cough - a good lozenge is recommended.
- Diabetic patients usually require sugar free cough bottles
but the choice of bottle is best left to the pharmacist.
- Steam inhalers, such as vaporisers or humidifiers can be very
useful in easing coughs and are a non-drug method. The warm moist
air is comforting, and works to loosen the chest by liquefying
mucous in the airways. A recent study has shown that this continual
cool steam is not only safer, but is much better for a child than
the hot steam which is used from kettles in some houses. KARVOL
is a great help as well, either in the boat of the humidifier
or on the blankets away from the child's head.
- With a chesty cough, a high fluid intake is advisable as it
hydrates the lungs and liquefies troublesome mucous. Hot drinks
can also be quite soothing.