Cough

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[Image: Pertussis_(Cough).jpg|150px|right]

Cough is a reflex [Fondue Forks to propel obstructive mucus or sputum, irritants, microbes and foreign particles from the air passageways in order to help the body protect or heal itself. Recurrent cough is normally a symptom of a number of different respiratory diseases.

Coughs are usually classified into:

  • Acute – cough that begins swiftly and lasts for about two to 8 weeks.
  • Chronic – cough that lasts longer than 8 weeks.

Contents

Signs and symptoms

Coughing is comprised of three different phases:

  • Inhalation
  • Strained exhalation opposing a closed [glottis]
  • Forced release of air from the lungs through an abruptly opened glottis which comes together with a characteristic sound.

Coughing can be classified into:

  • Dry – No sputum or mucus coughed up.
  • Productive or expectorative – [Sputum] or mucus is coughed up.

Causes and risk factors

Repeated coughing can be induced by tobacco smoking. Coughing may also be a symptom of these respiratory conditions:

  • [Asthma]
  • [Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] (COPD):
    • [Chronic bronchitis]
    • [Emphysema]
  • [Upper airway cough syndrome] (UACS)
  • [Colds]
  • [Influenza|Flu]
  • [Pulmonary edema]
  • [Pneumonia]
  • [Tuberculosis]
  • [Gastroesophageal reflux disease] (GERD)
  • Throat disorders:
    • [Laryngotracheobronchitis] – or upper respiratory tract infection common in young children
    • [Tonsillitis]
    • [Pharyngitis]
  • Certain head and neck [cancer|cancers]
  • [Lung cancer]

Diagnosis and tests

Doctors might ask for some tests done depending on what is gathered from the patient’s medical history and symptoms.

Tests may include:

  • Mucus examination – To determine what kind of pathogen caused the infection.
  • Chest [X-ray] – To help diagnose pneumonia, lung cancer, tuberculosis, emphysema and the like.
  • [Lung function tests] – May include [spirometry] to help diagnose [chronic bronchitis], [asthma] and other respiratory diseases.
  • [Sinus] X-ray – To confirm diagnosis of sinus infection.
  • [ph probe] – To see if the patient is exhibiting symptoms of GERD.

Treatment

Treatments may vary depending on the real cause of cough.

Treating the cause

  • Sinus infection - [Antibiotics] may be prescribed.
  • Smoking – Immediate smoking cessation is needed.
  • [Allergy|Allergies] – [Over-the-counter medications] to control symptoms may be given.
  • Asthma – [Bronchodilators] or [corticosteroids] may be given.

Treating the cough

Coughing is a very important reflex to help clear air passageways and help prevent infections. Cough medicines are usually prescribed only when the source of the cough is unknown and when coughing becomes a source of pain and distress.

Types of cough medication or treatments include:

  • [Antitussive|Antitussives] – Cough suppressants that may help give respite from a cough.
  • [Expectorant] – Loosens mucus to help patients with dry cough.
  • [Bronchodilators] – Helps relax the airways.
  • Steam vaporizer or cool-mist humidifier
  • Increasing fluid intake.

Prevention and control

Cough can be prevented by maintaining a healthy immune system, keeping a healthy lifestyle, and having proper nutrition. For those who have cough, prevention guidelines include:

  • Cover the mouth with tissue when they cough.
  • Put used tissue inside the trash bin.
  • If there is no tissue, cough or sneeze into the upper sleeve or elbow and never using the hands.
  • [Global Handwashing Day|Wash hands] thoroughly and soap for at least 20 seconds (singing "Happy Birthday" twice).
  • If soap and water is not available, use a hand sanitizer.

Cases in the Philippines

Coughs are just about widespread in the entire world including the Philippines. The country is experiencing a comeback of the effective old folk and natural cure, lagundi. Its effectiveness has been proven before the creation of synthetic medications. Technology made it possible to be available to consumers in the form of capsules and syrup without the need for complex and long preparations.

References