Coughing, Productive cough

Coughing, Productive cough

Coughing is the body's way to remove and remove foreign bodies or saliva (mucus) from the lungs and bronchi.

Causes and risk factors for coughing
Coughing, Productive cough

How does coughing happen?

Sensory sensors in the airways send a stimulus to the brain stem when you feel the presence of a foreign body or the presence of inflammation and this leads to this reaction to activate the breathing muscles and the diaphragm in a coordinated manner in order to transfer air quickly and powerfully to the airways, as a reaction to the catalyst that the transmitters sent .

A cough is defined as a cough accompanied by sputum when there are secretions coming out when coughing.

In general, these secretions are mucus, that is, saliva that is produced in the airways in order to protect and clean them from contaminants and small foreign bodies.

As is known, "productive cough", that is, cough with various secretions, may contain different substances such as blood, mucus and pus. Also, the color of this cough (which differs from coughing with phlegm) can be green, yellow, white, pink, or dark red. 

Cough symptoms

Coughing itself is a symptom, not a disease.
The fact and the causes of coughing are usually found only after the appearance of other symptoms or after careful physical and imaging tests.

Causes and risk factors for coughing

As mentioned, coughing with phlegm is accompanied by secretion of salivary substances called "phlegm" or "mucus".

The source of this saliva is either the lungs (in the bronchioles inside or outside the lungs) or from a more upper source, such as the nose or sinuses in the skull.

In this case, the saliva travels to the bronchi, due to the effect of the force of gravity, through the back of the throat.

Causes for coughing with phlegm:

  1. Viral disease: It is very common for coughing with phlegm to be associated with viral diseases such as the common cold or influenza. In this case, coughing is usually caused by mucus discharging from an upper source through the back of the throat.
  2. Pollution: Infection of the lungs or contamination of the respiratory ducts of the lungs can cough with phlegm. Some of the diseases we are talking about in this situation are: Pneumonia, Bronchitis , Sinusitis , and even Tuberculosis.
  3.  Chronic lung disease: Cough with sputum is usually associated with serious chronic lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), where cough with sputum is a symptom of exacerbation of the disease or infection of the airways.
  4. Gastroesophageal reflux (Reflux): Recurring stomach acids across the upper sphincter in the esophagus can cause a cough. This cough often occurs at night because of the force of gravity.
  5. Drainage of mucus across the back of the throat (Post nasal drip): which causes the desire to clean or scratch the throat. This is one of the common and widespread conditions.
  6. Smoking: Damage to the respiratory tract and lungs due to smoking causes chronic and mucous coughing .

Complications of cough

The most common complications of coughing include:

  • Pain in the chest and abdomen
  • Inability to control urine ( enuresis during coughing)
  • Fatigue.
Sometimes, coughing attacks can lead to fainting and temporary loss of consciousness, due to a decrease in the venous return from blood to the heart due to a positive high pressure in the chest.

Also, fractures of the ribs can occur even in healthy people due to coughing.

There is also a need to always suspect bone weakening diseases such as Osteoporosis and other lesions of various causes that may affect the bone.  

Diagnosis of cough

As we have already said, coughing is a symptomatic disease in itself and not a disease. The doctor must perform a comprehensive physical examination in order to identify other symptoms that would help us diagnose the causes of coughing.

Tests that can help us diagnose and determine the causes of a cough in such cases are:

  • Oximetry: by an electrical measuring device that is placed on one of the fingers of the hand.
  • Examination of the performance of the lungs "Peak expiratory flow rate": or "spirometry" that helps in the diagnosis of some conditions such as asthma or various lung diseases.
  • Imaging tests: which can help diagnose and identify the causes of coughing, are chest X-ray imaging tests. This examination is done when there are signs of illness during a physical examination and an examination of the listening lungs.
  •  Flat throat examination: for detection of pertussis bacteria, computerized tomography (CT) of the paranasal sinuses. Likewise, in order to detect a cough from an overhead source, a postalal drip examination, lung performance test, and even an esophageal acidity test are detected for Gastric reflux.

Cough treatment

Acute cough treatment

The disease that causes cough should be treated , treatment of the cough reaction and the various factors that increase the severity of the cough, including:

  •  Antiviral drugs to treat viral contamination (rarely given), and antibiotics for bacterial contamination.
  •  Patients with bronchitis (bronchitis) may be given a beta agonist to relieve a cough.
  •  Treatment of posterior loop liquefaction (Anti nasal drip) with antihistamine drugs, steroids or vascular decongestants.
  •  Treating stomach reflux with drugs that reduce gastric acid production.

Cough reflex

This is done by taking drugs that affect the brain stem and raising the minimum required to stimulate cough creation, of course after consulting a doctor.

Chronic cough

  •  Treatment of pertussis with antibiotics to reduce infection.
  •  Chronic cough that has no known source can be treated with inhalation of a local anesthetic and morphine sulfate - rarely.
Cough prevention
The process of preventing cough revolves around trying to prevent its causes, and the most important of these methods are:

  • Maintaining self-hygiene during the winter in order to reduce the chances of contracting viral and bacterial diseases
  • To refrain from smoking, whether it is direct or passive smoking
  • Prevention of environmental pollutants
  • Maintaining a healthy diet to strengthen the immune system.

Alternative treatments

It should be noted that Echinacea and Vitamin C are not effective treatments if they are used after the onset of a cough.

Treating cough at home

Follow the following steps to help you treat a cough in home ways:

  • Thyme: Thyme  helps in treating coughs and upper respiratory tract infections and bronchi, because it contains compounds that suppress coughing and help relax the throat muscles and reduce inflammation and headaches. To prepare thyme drink, mix two teaspoons of ground thyme with a glass of hot water and cover it for 10 minutes.
  • Flax, honey, and lemon:  Boiling and eating flaxseed will help calm the airways and reduce coughing. You can add honey and lemon because they have anti-inflammatory properties. Boil two to three tablespoons of flaxseeds in a glass of water, then add three tablespoons of honey and fresh lemon juice.
  • Lemon: It  has great properties that help you get rid of the annoying cough you are suffering from, so put some black spices and salt on the lemon and eat it!
  • Milk: It  is one of the home remedies that helps you in treating a cough, so mix some honey with milk before eating it.