Common Signs and Symptoms of Cough

How do you describe a cough?

Cough is a sudden forceful sound that is done instinctively to clear the throat of mucus, fluids, irritants, and foreign bodies (foreign particles and microbes). Cough is a very common symptom in several diseases, and it is a way of clearing the airways. The throat can also be irritated by certain factors that trigger the cough reflex. 

The symptoms of cough include:

  • Cough can be dry and nonproductive (cough without mucus).
  • Cough can be wet and productive (cough with mucus production).
  • Comes with the tightness of chest
  • Tickle in the throat
  • Dry feeling in the throat
  • Cough can be frequent and persistent (chronic in nature)
  • Cough can be acute in nature (short duration)
  • Whooping cough
  • Choking cough

Cough rarely stands alone. It is usually associated with other symptoms such as:

Causes/Triggers Of Cough

The common causes of cough include:

  • Normal clearing of the airways
  • Smoke inhalation
  • Gas irritation
  • Tobacco use
  • Swallowing food improperly
  • Fast consumption of liquid that causes water to wrongly enter into the pharynx
  • Choking
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Spicy foods
  • Habit cough(psychogenic cough): also known as tic cough, is a kind of cough that does not have any pathological cause. It is a habit that was picked up, sometimes as a result of a life-changing event such as a loss in the family or having a chronically sick sibling.
  • Air pollution
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Rhinitis
  • Sinusitis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Allergies
  • Cold aid
  • Common cold
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Heart failure
  • The use of ACE inhibitors
  • Asthma
  • Pneumonia
  • Pertussis
  • Acute bronchitis.
  • Tuberculosis
  • Eosinophilic bronchitis
  • Lung cancer
  • Bronchiectasis

Diagnosis of cough

The diagnosis of a cough is based on the following: 

  1. History of cough: onset, productive or nonproductive, any associated symptoms, relieving factor, and factors that worsens the cough
  2. Chest X-ray
  3. Sputum analysis
  4. Blood analysis
  5. Spirometry

What is the best treatment for a cough? 

  • Honey: is a special natural substance to suppress the cough. Honey reduces the duration of the cough.
  • Drink hot tea with lemon and honey
  • Cough suppressants: dextromethorphan and codeine.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Discontinue the use of ACE inhibitors.
  • Bronchodilators.
  • Corticosteroids.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Avoid irritants like pollen, dust, cigarette, mold, and animals
  • Avoid excessive talking and yelling.

Final word: Call your doctor immediately if you have a cough with shortness of breath or difficulty breathing or fever, severe chest pain or coughing up blood or cough lasts for more than 2 weeks.