Why do we cough?
Before we look at how to stop coughing, let’s answer this question. The cough is a reflex and a defense mechanism of the body. It is to protect us from foreign bodies like microorganisms, dust and smoke. With pressure from the diaphragm, the aim is to expel the irritating substance out of the lungs, throat or mouth. So it does have an important natural role.
Causes of coughing
What causes the problem can give us a clue as to how to stop the problem. The common causes include:
- Irritants like dust, pollen, smoke, aerosol spray and microorganisms.
- Other lung problems such as asthma (air passages are narrowed), bronchitis and sinusitis are other causes.
- GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) – a condition of the gastric system wherein the lower opening of the esophagus is relaxed, therefore the acidic content of the stomach goes up the esophagus and into the throat. The acids will irritate the lining of the throat and mouth, causing the person to cough.
- Allergens, including food or medications. Seafood, dairy products and eggs are the usual causes. Medicines such as Penicillin, other antibiotics and live vaccines may cause an allergic reaction.
So, how to stop coughing?
Firstly, find out what is causing your cough. This is done by either by looking out for the causing factors or diagnosis of such with the doctor.
These home care tips are what we can do to stop coughing:
- Prepare hot water mixed with sea salt. This mixture has antibacterial properties that we can use to gargle and cleanse the mouth.
- Avoid irritants by wearing mask. Stop smoking and seek medical advice to help you quit the habit.
- Clean your surroundings and close windows to prevent pollen, feathers, dust and other allergens from coming in the house.
- Increase your water intake of 8 glasses or more to prevent dehydration and to soothe and wash the throat.
- You can prepare herbal teas like that of licorice, ginger or oregano. Licorice helps loosen phlegm, while ginger has an antiseptic effect, fighting bacteria and relieves congestion. In addition, oregano herb has antioxidant effects that helps remove toxins out of the body. Oregano also has a minty effect that is soothing to the throat.
- Elevate head of bed by placing 2 pillows under the head part. This is to position the body for the lungs to expand well and deliver oxygen in the body.
What are the medical treatments to stop coughing?
- If the cause is determined to be acid in the throat (in a case of acid reflux disease), then it is treated by prescribing antacid medications. This is the kind of medicine that reduces the acidity of the stomach.
- When asthma or other lung conditions are at play, then the medications given are those to relieve them. In the case of asthma, bronchodilators(medicines that dilate or enlarge the airways) are administered.
- For lung infections caused by bacteria, antibiotics are ordered. This is to kill the bacteria, stop their growth and multiplication.
- Antipyretic – medicine to lower body temperature.
- To stop coughing, antitussives are given. This is designed to suppress the reflex.
- Lozenges are candy-like medicines that usually come in mint flavor to soothe the throat. Some lozenges contain Lidocaine, an anesthetic that helps numb the throat and suppress cough.
- Antibacterial mouthwash is recommended to be gargled after every meal and as needed. This will reduce the bacteria present in the throat. It aids in a speedy recovery from infections and irritation.
How to prevent coughs?
Just like other medical conditions, many coughs are preventable. Here are some tips:
- Stop smoking – the substances in cigarettes damage the lining of our airways. In time, this will lead to tissue death and even cancer.
- Use a mask especially when there is an outbreak or when going to be exposed in irritants (like aerosol spray, insecticides). This will protect you from irritants like dust, smoke, pollen and other allergens.
If you have a persistent cough, do seek medical advice. For others, there are many medicines and remedies that may help you know how to stop coughing.