A cough. Causes, types, diagnostics and treatment of a cough

A cough. Causes, types, diagnostics and treatment of a cough

A cough is one of the main defenders of the body from the negative impact on it of an aggressive environment: allergens, food remnants, as well as pathogens that want to enter the body.

In fact, a cough is an effective way of cleaning the respiratory tract from various adverse factors, so if a person manifests this disease, then it is necessary to fight, first of all, with its cause.


 Most often, the causes are various infections, which is why the most popular one is connected with flu, colds, bronchitis, tracheitis, laryngitis and other diseases. The mechanism of development is as follows: if viruses, bacteria, fungus and other allergens are got into the upper respiratory tract, the mucous membrane develops a certain secret (mucus, sputum), which is designed to envelop them in order to prevent ingress into the body. Further, the muscles of the upper respiratory tract, located along the entire respiratory tract, cause a cough by contraction, due to which sputum together with harmful microorganisms goes out. Thus, the body cleanses. That is why, it is necessary to treat not a cough, but what provokes it. Moreover, it is necessary to make sure that the mucous membrane of the respiratory organs and sputum are not dried, therefore, during the painful etiology of coughing drinking, inhalation, and humidifying are prescribed in the room where the patient is. In addition, it can be triggered by ingress of foreign objects (food debris, coarse dust, etc.) into the respiratory organs, and then the last ones begin to reflexively purify themselves from the pathogen, while the patient experiences a sudden cough.

The main causes are the following:

  • viruses: influenza viruses, parainfluenza, adenoviruses, etc.;
  • bacteria: staphylococci, streptococci, legionella and others;
  • mycoplasma;
  • fungi and protozoa;
  • allergens: dust, animal fur, pollen of plants, evaporation of various chemical materials (glue, paint, powders, etc.);
  • smoking;
  • remains of food: if small particles of food settle in the throat;
  • cold drink;
  • inhalation of too hot or too cold air;
  • an overabundance of nasal contents;
  • a side effect due to medicines;
  • emotional instability, for example, with great joy;
  • diseases: abscess of the lung, allergy, ascariasis, asthma, bronchiolitis, bronchitis, influenza, whooping cough, measles, croup, laryngitis, SARS, pleurisy, pneumonia, cancer, rhinitis, coronary heart disease (CHD), sinusitis, tracheitis, tuberculosis, pharyngitis;
  • congenital anomalies: cleft larynx, esophageal tracheal fistula, paralysis of vocal cords;
  • gastroesophageal reflux.

Pay attention: Particular attention should be given to a child cough, because often, its body has not yet learned how to cough efficiently, which can provoke lung decay, frequent pneumonia and other diseases of the respiratory system. Particular care must be taken if a young child has a barking cough, since the child may have a laryngeal edema, and as a result, suffocate.


 Depending on the causes and symptoms, it is divided into the following types:

  • on the strength: coughing; an angry cough.
  • on the duration: sharp, prolonged, subacute and chronic;
  • by nature: productive and dry;
  • by timbre: silent, muffled, short, barking, sonorous, sour;
  • by activity time: in the morning and evening, at night, a seasonal cough.

Sputum is divided into such types: mucous (sputum of light and colorless color); purulent (sputum greenish); serous (sputum yellow-green and yellow); bloody (orange sputum).


 When diagnosing a cough, a doctor usually does a personal examination, which includes:

  • listening to the body with a stethoscope;
  • study of a medical history;
  • appointment of roentgenography.

Additionally the doctor can appoint:

  • general blood analysis;
  • a tuberculin test;
  • analysis of nasopharyngeal cultures.


 Effective treatment largely depends on the correct diagnosis: identifying the cause that provokes a cough, its type, and also the attendant symptoms such as high body temperature, nasal congestion, headache, etc. Thus, if you have consulted your doctor in time and he/she has accurately diagnosed a disease that is accompanied by a cough, then the cough lasts for several days.


A dry cough is provoked by irritation of receptors by various pathological factors, namely inflammatory process due to inhalation of hot, cold or polluted air, chemical vapors, etc. In connection with this, medicines that suppress the cough reflex are often prescribed for the treatment of a dry cough. If this is not done, various complications in the work of the respiratory system may start, for example: pneumothorax and pneumomediastinum. In addition, a strong cough can provoke attacks of suffocation, headaches, increased blood pressure, insomnia and vomiting.

There are additional recommendations concerning a dry cough:

  • abundant drink;
  • inhalation;
  • humidification of air;

A productive cough is provoked by phlegm, which irritates receptors, as well as the inflammatory process in the airways and lungs.

Treatment for a productive cough involves the use of drugs that:

  • dilute sputum, transferring it from the viscous state to the liquid;
  • increase the secretion of liquid phlegm;
  • both dilute sputum and increase the secretion of liquid sputum (mucolytic drugs).

In addition to the use of various medicines for a cough: syrups, tablets, troches, potions, and other medications, it is necessary to adhere to some other rules that will accelerate the process of recovery.

Among the additional recommendations, experts note:

  • observe bed rest;
  • try to drink a lot at least two liters of fluid a day;
  • eat foods rich in vitamins, especially vitamin C, and avoid consuming coffee, chocolate and other confectionery sweets;
  • humidify the air of the room where the patient is;
  • rinse the throat at least 3 times a day;
  • rinse the nose.

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