Coughs are the body’s reflex to clear the airways of mucus or other irritating materials such as dust or smoke.
Coughing is the body’s reflex to clear the airways of mucus or other irritating materials such as dust or smoke. This cough reflex is a normal reaction and a sign that the body is functioning properly.
When a dry cough occurs, the throat usually feels itchy even though there is no phlegm (thick mucus). Meanwhile, coughing up phlegm means there is the production of phlegm which functions to clear the airways.
There are many causes of coughs, especially acute coughs. Here are some of them:
- Upper respiratory tract infections that affect the throat and sinuses, such as colds, laryngitis, sinusitis, and whooping cough.
- Lower respiratory tract infections attack the trachea (windpipe), bronchi (airways in the chest cavity), bronchioles (branches of the bronchial tubes), and lungs such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
- Allergies such as allergic rhinitis (inflammation of the lining of the nose).
- Recurrence of chronic diseases such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Inhalation of dust or smoke
Coughing in children is usually also caused by an upper respiratory infection, asthma, or GERD. It can also be caused by:
- Bronchiolitis (inflammation of the airways)
- Croup (a viral infection that causes inflammation and swelling of the upper respiratory tract, namely the larynx, trachea and bronchi)
- Whooping cough (also known as pertussis or 100 day cough due to bacterial infection of the respiratory tract)
Coughing is usually a mild symptom of the flu. There are generally other signs, such as:
- itchy throat with dry cough
- lots of mucus or phlegm in a cough with phlegm
- chills or chills
- sneezing or runny or stuffy nose
Coughing is basically a symptom of a disease. To find out the cause of a cough, the doctor will usually ask a person’s medical history and perform a physical examination.
In addition, to get more detailed examination results, supporting examinations such as blood tests, allergy tests, chest X-rays, or analysis of sputum samples can be carried out. However, this type of complete examination is generally not carried out if the doctor considers that someone is more indicated to have ordinary coughs.
A common cough caused by a virus will stop and clear up on its own within three weeks. Treatment at home with enough rest, drinking lots of water, and taking the right medicine can help healing. If the treatment has lasted more than three weeks and the cough doesn’t go away, then check with your doctor again to find other causes.
Over-the-counter cough medicines can sometimes help relieve symptoms. However, it should be noted that this kind of cough medicine is not necessarily right for everyone. Children under 6 years old should not be given cough medicine. While children aged 6 to 12 years, giving cough medicine must be under the supervision of a doctor.
Usually coughs will heal when the bacterial infection that occurs has been overcome. To prevent bacterial, germ and dust infections, make lifestyle changes that support general health, such as:
- eat healthy foods so that the body has the resistance to help prevent lung infections and the entire respiratory system.
- mild and regular exercise so that the body weight is stable and the respiratory system is trained. Being overweight puts a strain on the respiratory system, which makes breathing even more difficult. Exercise will train the lungs and heart to work more efficiently and optimally.
- avoid smoky fog environment.
- quit smoking and avoid passive smoking as much as possible. Exposure to cigarette smoke as a passive smoker is now known to be just as dangerous as an active smoker.
- avoiding allergens or materials or environments that might be triggers for allergy symptoms in your body.
- increase the body’s resistance to avoid flu or colds.