Coughs are something that happens to everyone, but can be the source of much discontent. So why do they happen, what do they mean and what can be done about them? The answers are really very simple and usually not a cause for concern.
Coughs are a natural reflex that protect the airway and keep environmental irritants and mucus from reaching the lungs. When an irritant enters the airway, nerves in the airway send a signal to the brain that tells the muscles in the chest and abdomen to contract and expel a large amount of air with significant force to dislodge the irritant. Although it can be annoying, coughing is an essential function that allows the body to protect itself and heal.
Coughs are either acute, meaning that they happen suddenly and don't last long, or chronic, meaning that they hang around for a while, as is the case with some upper respiratory conditions. A cough itself is not life threatening, but it can be a sign of a bigger problem that could be if left untreated.
In most cases, coughing occurs as a result of environmental irritants. Coughs can also happen when mucus gets into the airway. This is most common in those with conditions such as asthma, or when a person has an upper respiratory infection. Listed below are some of the more common causes of coughs.
An acute cough will usually only last a few days and typically doesn’t require medical attention, although allergy sufferers may need some prescription medication to keep their allergies under control. Chronic coughs that last for several weeks or are accompanied by chest pains, or coughs in which a person is coughing up blood or mucus do require prompt medical attention to prevent further complications.
The treatment for coughs will depend on what is causing the cough. If the cough is acute, then treatment is typically very simple and can be done at home. If the cough is more severe or chronic, treatment from a doctor is usually required, but there are complimentary treatments that can be performed at home to help ease discomfort. These treatments include simple home and herbal remedies. Below are some examples of home treatment for coughs:
For more information on cough remedies, read Simple Cough And Cold Remedies For A Fast Recovery.
Individuals who experience any of the following symptoms should schedule a visit to the doctor as soon as possible.
The majority of coughs will clear up on their own, without medical intervention and are no cause for great concern. Though they can be annoying at times, they shouldn't be a source of anxiety. Coughs are just something that humans have to live with and when one considers their purpose, it's easy to see that we wouldn't really want to live without them.