Dealing with a severe cough

November 12, 2012

Dealing with a severe cough

Coughs can be cause by many things such as smoking, recent flu or cold symptoms or even lung cancer

A cough is part of the natural defence mechanism in the human body; a cough is a reaction to an unwanted foreign object or substance being expelled from the body. An attack of sever coughing may be triggered by swallowing food down ‘the wrong hole’ or it may be a symptom of the congestion present during a common cold – a severe cough under these circumstances is easy to deal with as the reason for it is known and understood.

A cough may be the result of a viral or bacterial infection as well as being part and parcel of a cold or respiratory illness. However a persistent serious cough which does not respond to home remedies or over the counter medications may be indicative of an underlying health problem and should be investigated by your medical practitioner.

Painful and exhausting

A severe cough can cause a great deal of distress to the sufferer for several reasons -

  • Repeated coughing may cause irritation to the throat leaving it sore and uncomfortable

  • Coughing which causes abdominal spasm will lead to referred pain in other areas

  • Incessant coughing is likely to leave the patient feeling exhausted – especially if the cough continues through the night hours.

Home remedies

Many severe coughs respond well to home remedies such as -

  • Steam inhalation – filling a bowl with hot water, covering the head and the bowl with a towel and inhaling the steam is an effective way of easing a severe cough, the addition of menthol will aid the process.

  • Honey in water or tea, this is especially useful just before sleep and will also ease any soreness in the throat.

  • Sucking on peppercorns may alleviate any dryness which may be contributing to the cough.

  • Ginger tea with honey and lemon is, anecdotally, an excellent cure for coughs and can be taken at any time of the day since it is a totally natural product.

  • Lozenges – many lozenges available today are based on natural, soothing products which will boost the effects of the things you may already be using.

  • Soup – a comfort food which is proven to help during bouts of sickness. The warmth of the soup is both comforting and soothing and the nutritional goodness found in homemade soup in particular will help build the body’s strength and fight infection.

  • Vitamin and mineral supplements – in particular Vitamin C and Zinc are recommended for congestion.

  • Changing posture – it is useful, especially at night, to maintain a more upright posture whilst suffering with a severe cough, using extra pillows will reduce the effect of post nasal drip which may irritate the throat and induce coughing.

If these remedies fail to work adequately you should visit your medical practitioner, a bacterial infection may require a course of antibiotics or your doctor may decide to investigate your symptoms more thoroughly in order to eliminate any possible underlying health problems. Allergies, oesophageal reflux, certain medications and post nasal drip are all risk factors for severe and prolonged coughing.


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