A cough is when your body responds by irritating your airways or throat, and an irritation activates nerves that help your brain receive a message. Your brain then instructs your chest and belly muscles to drive air out of your lungs to expel the irritant.
Coughing on occasion is normal and healthy. A problem that requires medical treatment is a cough that lasts for several weeks or one that produces bloody or discolored mucus.
How to treat a cough on your own
You typically don’t need to visit a doctor when you have a cough.
You ought to:
- Drink a lot of water
- Stay interior and avoid contact with other people
You might also attempt:
- Ibuprofen or paracetamol to treat any pain
- Lemon and honey hot (not suitable for babies under one year old)
- A herbal remedy is known as pelargonium (ideal for people aged 12 or over)
If you have a cough, a pharmacist can assist you.
A pharmacist can provide you with information about:
- Cough syrup
- Cough medication (you should not give some cough medicines to children under 12)
- Cough drops
- While they won’t make you quit coughing, these might make you cough less
- Decongestants and cough medications with codeine won’t get your cough under control
Consult a doctor if
- Cough persisting for more than three weeks is severe, or worsens quickly, such as a hacking cough or inability to stop coughing
- You’re feeling awful
- You experience chest pain
- You’re losing weight unnecessarily
- Your neck’s side feels uncomfortable and swollen (swollen glands)
- Breathing is challenging for you
- Your immune system is weak
- Colds and the flu are the leading causes of coughing.
Additional factors include:
- Heartburn (acid reflux)
- Allergies, such as hay fever
- Mucous trickling from the back of the nose down the throat
Cough is rarely an indication of anything dangerous like lung cancer.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022