Cold and flu season brings with it a number of annoying ailments, which can get in the way of enjoying all that winter has to offer. One such symptom is the dreaded cough. If you’re trying to get rid of a cough, it’s important to know exactly what kind of cough you have, so you can get the right treatment and relief.
Non-productive or ‘dry’ cough
A non-productive cough does not ‘produce’ anything, and is usually a response to an irritant. This might be something in your environment (such as dust or smoke) or an irritation within your respiratory system, when you’re on the road to recovering from a more severe ‘chesty’ cough (see below for more details). A dry cough is more annoying than anything else, and your pharmacist can safely provide you with cough-suppressing medication to help ease the symptoms.
A productive or ‘chesty’ cough
A productive cough is essentially helping you to clean out the phlegm and gunk from your lungs. You can identify a chesty cough by its rattly sound, or the sensation of something moving in your lungs as you cough. It’s important to let your pharmacist know if your cough is chesty, because a standard cough suppressant will do you more harm than good. Suppressing your cough will cause the phlegm to stay in your lungs, and this can lead to a more serious bacterial infection, such as pneumonia. And once you get pneumonia you will be much worse for wear.
Also known as pertussis, whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial disease, and can be fatal for infants and young children. Thankfully a vaccine is available for this disease. Whooping cough is characterized by a gasping noise between coughs and violent coughing fits, which may last up to six weeks. See your doctor straight away if you suspect you have whooping cough as it is better to have it checked out immediately instead of just waiting it out for it to go away and risk spreading it to the people around you.
Barking cough or croup
Often confused, a barking cough is a type of cough, whereas croup is a specific viral infection, which may be associated with a ‘barking’ cough. In both scenarios, the ‘bark’ is a dry cough associated with swollen vocal cords, and the cough will usually get worse in the cold, dry, night air. A popular remedy is inhaling warm, humid air, so jump in the shower or put on a humidifier if you are suffering from a barking cough. While a cough in itself is not necessarily harmful, it is certainly annoying. It is important to get relief from your cough overnight, to ensure you rest soundly and your body gets the rest it needs, in order to make a full recovery. You can learn more about the different cough treatment options at your local pharmacy. Alternatively, you can research online at bisolvon.com.au. If your cough is associated with shortness of breath, colored phlegm, fever, or chest pain, see your doctor for more advice.