Bumisuka.com – 5 Types of Constant Cough Are You Experiencing. Coughing is a natural reflex that is important for keeping the lungs and airways clean and functioning properly. Coughing basically protects the body from irritants such as mucus, smoke, and allergens such as dust, mold, and pollen.
Although coughing is often not serious, a persistent cough that doesn’t go away can be annoying and may be related to an illness.
The way a cough sounds and feels can help identify the cause. Through this article, let’s get to know some types of cough!
Classification of cough types
Coughing is a common symptom of many types of medical conditions. Reported by Healthline, you can determine the cause of a cough based on its characteristics.
- Behavior or experience: When and why does cough occur? Does it happen at night, after eating, or during exercise?
- Characteristics: How does the cough sound or feel? Stagnant, phlegm, or dry?
- Duration: How long have you been coughing? Has it been less than 2 weeks or more than 8 weeks?
- Associated effects: Do you have other symptoms such as vomiting, urinary incontinence, or trouble sleeping?
- Stage: How bad is the cough? Is it annoying, persistent, or debilitating?
Sometimes, a blockage in the airway can trigger the cough reflex. If you or your child has swallowed something that may be blocking the airway, seek medical attention immediately.
1. Dry cough
A dry cough usually occurs due to respiratory illnesses, such as the flu and colds. This type of cough develops when there is little or no mucus in the throat. You may feel a tickling sensation in your throat and can’t stop coughing.
In most cases, a dry cough goes away on its own. However, if the cough develops chronically, here are some possible causes:
- Asthma: Other symptoms include a sensation of tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, and wheezing.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): This occurs when stomach acid rises up into the throat, which can trigger a cough.
- Lung cancer: A cough associated with lung cancer may coincide with blood in the mucus. Rarely, cough is caused by lung cancer. However, if you are worried, it never hurts to see a doctor.
Itching from a dry cough can be relieved by drinking water or taking cough medicine.
2. Cough with phlegm
A cough with phlegm, also called a wet cough or productive cough, is characterized by the discharge of mucus from the lungs. You may feel like there is something in the back of your throat, or you may feel like something is dripping down your throat or chest. In some cases mucus may be carried into the mouth.
Coughing up phlegm can be caused by several conditions, such as:
- Cold or flu.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, or emphysema.
- Acute bronchitis.
- Non-TB mycobacterial infection.
The duration of the cough can be a clue to the cause. According to the National Library of Medicine, Cough with phlegm can be acute (less than 3 weeks) or chronic (more than 8 weeks) in adults.
A wet cough is often accompanied by other symptoms such as a runny nose, postnasal drip, or extra mucus dripping from the nose into the throat, and fatigue.
Coughing up phlegm sounds “wet” because of the moisture present as mucus escapes the respiratory system.
Babies, toddlers, and children who experience cough with phlegm are generally caused by a cold or flu.
Staying hydrated can help a productive cough with phlegm and relieve cold symptoms. You can also take over-the-counter cough medicines, apply balm on the chest, and pain relievers.
If the cause of the cough is bacteria, you may need antibiotics.
3. Paroxysmal cough
Paroxysmal cough is a cough characterized by repeated and uncontrollable coughing attacks. This cough is exhausting and painful, and often makes it difficult for sufferers to breathe, some may even vomit.
Pertussis or whooping cough produces a violent cough. This condition is caused by atypical bacteria. Whooping cough can turn into a paroxysmal cough during the second stage of the disease, when coughing episodes are more frequent, especially at night.
During bouts of whooping cough, the sufferer may make a “whoop” sound (hence also known as whooping cough). This is because all the air from the lungs is released from the lungs.
Babies are at a higher risk of developing whooping cough and they may develop serious complications from it. Whooping cough is very serious and can even be life threatening for the baby.
Vaccination is the best way to prevent pertussis in children 2 months of age and older.
In addition to whooping cough, other possible causes of paroxysmal cough include asthma, COPD, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and choking.
People who have whooping cough, of any age, will need antibiotics. Because it is highly contagious, family members or caregivers of people who have whooping cough should also receive treatment. Treating it as early as possible gives the best chance of cure.
According to the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, other treatments for paroxysmal coughs may also include:
- Use a cool mist vaporizer to thin the existing mucus.
- Reduce exposure to irritants in the home, such as dust or smoke.
- Eat small but frequent meals to reduce the risk of vomiting.
- Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
4. Cough croup
Croup is most often caused by a viral infection and is most common in children younger than 5 years. Croup causes the airways to swell and become irritated.
Young children have narrower airways, so the swelling narrows the airway, making it harder for them to breathe.
Croup causes a characteristic “barking” cough that sounds like a seal. This condition also causes swelling in and around the voice box, which can cause hoarseness of breath or hoarseness.
Because it causes difficulty breathing, croup can be a cause for concern. In addition to having difficulty breathing, your child may experience high-pitched sounds during inhalation and breathe very quickly. In severe cases, the child’s skin may turn pale or bluish.
Generally, croup goes away on its own without treatment. Home remedies may include:
- Put a cool mist humidifier in the child’s bedroom.
- Take the child to a steam-filled bathroom for up to 10 minutes.
- Invite children to breathe cool air.
- Give acetaminophen to treat fever.
- Make sure your child is getting enough rest and getting enough fluids.
Your doctor may recommend using a nebulizer breathing treatment to help open the airway. In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe steroids to reduce inflammation.
5. Chronic cough
According to a 2006 article in the journal Chest, a chronic cough lasts longer than eight weeks. Finding the cause can sometimes be difficult. Some tests may need to be done or you may be referred to another specialist.
In addition to smoking, common causes of chronic cough include:
- Postnasal drip.
- Medications, especially ACE inhibitors.
- Heart failure
- Lung cancer (rare).
If you smoke, quit starting today. Not only chronic cough, smoking will also put you at risk of developing other health problems.
Treatment depends on the specific cause. The doctor will take a thorough history to look for possible causes of cough. If you are taking an ACE inhibitor for blood pressure, for example, your doctor may ask you to try an alternative medicine to see if your cough goes away.
The doctor may also want to order a chest X-ray and a spirometry test to help determine the cause of the cough. If the chest X-ray is abnormal, a computed tomography (CT) scan of the lungs and/or bronchoscopy may be required.
When did coughing become a potentially dangerous thing?
Because the cough reflex is natural and protective, sometimes it can be your body’s way of notifying you of an impending emergency. If you suddenly cough and potentially experience any of the following disorders, seek medical attention immediately.
- Allergic reactions (anaphylaxis).
- Asthma or COPD exacerbation, or worsening, when medication does not control symptoms.
- Inhaling foreign objects.
- Whooping cough.
Apart from coughing, you may also experience difficulty breathing or other worrying symptoms, such as swelling of the tongue.
If you have breathing problems, especially if you are at risk for one of these emergencies, don’t delay seeking medical care as it is potentially life-threatening.
Also, if you have this type of cough that lasts more than a week or two, it is highly recommended to see a doctor.
There are many types of coughs. Knowing the specific characteristics, severity, and duration of a cough can help determine the cause. Coughing is a symptom of many illnesses and can be caused by a variety of conditions, from mild to serious.
In most cases, the cough will go away on its own. However, chronic cough in young children and the elderly who are not healthy requires immediate treatment. If the cough sounds bad, is very painful, or doesn’t go away, see a doctor immediately.