Cough is a protective reaction of the body to irritation of the human respiratory tract. During cough, the body tries to get rid of mucus, or foreign particles trapped in the airways. Various bacteria and viruses can also cause coughing.
A healthy person in normal conditions does not have a cough. It occurs in response to irritation of the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract or pleura and is a complex reflex act. With the help of cough, our body is freed from particles of dust and various chemicals that have fallen into the bronchi. This preserves the sterility of the deepest sections of the bronchi, which are in direct contact with the alveoli of the lungs, and of the lungs themselves.
So, did you accidentally get water in the respiratory tract, a crumb of bread, did you inhale a sharp smell, for example, of tobacco smoke, while coughing is a natural defensive reaction. But most often it is a consequence of some kind of painful condition.
Sometimes the cough signals a disease of the respiratory system, sometimes it is the first manifestation of heart disease, allergies or impaired activity of the central nervous system.
I will dwell a little more on the characteristic of cough with lesions of the bronchi and lungs.
When there is an inflammatory process in the bronchi, their mucous membrane swells and thickens, making it difficult for cilia of the ciliated epithelium, which, like an e metro escalator, “take out” foreign particles from the depths of the bronchi to the mouth. Brakes their progress and the fact that inflammation increases the visco-elastic properties of mucus. A vicious circle occurs: a secret lingers in the bronchi, dust particles accumulate, microorganisms multiply (trapped in both inhaled air, and from the nasal mucosa, pharynx, tonsils, and dental plaque), and cilia-escalators do not cope with their duties. In such patients, in the morning hours, during cough, mucous clear sputum is often excreted, after which breathing is facilitated. This cough is sanitizing, effective, it is an assistant to the sick body. But if the process is delayed, the infection penetrates into the deeper parts of the bronchi, an inflammatory lung disease can occur.
When the cough is accompanied by fever, severe weakness, sweating, the patient usually see a doctor, and then the specialist determines the cause of the cough, diagnoses, prescribes the necessary treatment. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If a person coughs, and he has no temperature, his health does not deteriorate significantly, he is not in a hurry to see a doctor. And the inflammatory process in the bronchi and lungs, meanwhile, increases, takes a chronic course. And coughing does not help relieve bronchus from mucus. The phlegm hardly separates, it is greenish-purulent or dirty-gray. In such cases, it is necessary to rehabilitate the bronchi with expectorant means, that is, as we say, stimulate cough.
In the clinics, expectorant drugs, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs, are prescribed individually depending on the microflora of the sputum. At home, cough, if it is dry, can be alleviated by warm alkaline inhalations, decoction or infusion of various herbs, for example, mother and stepmother, wild rosemary, primrose of spring, licorice roots and Althea. Broths and infusions are taken several times a day for a third or half cup. Keep in mind that the effect of all expectorant drugs is enhanced with abundant warm drink.
Sometimes, especially with bronchitis with an asthmatic component, cough provokes the development of bronchospasm. The patient does not have enough air, a whistling sound appears in his breath. In this case, before taking expectorant drugs, you should use bronchodilators, for example, an inhaler with salbutamol or another drug prescribed by your doctor. Of the expectorant drugs, a vegetable chest collection No. 2 containing licorice and a mother and a stepmother is recommended to such patients.
Patients with obstructive form of bronchitis, when the flow of air through the bronchi is disturbed, well helps with the infusion of thermopsis; It helps to deepen and ease breathing, stimulate cough.
But a hacking cough with inflammation of the pleura does not clear the bronchi, does not bring relief, but rather exhausts. Such a cough should be suppressed. What exactly, the doctor will tell. He will pick up and anti-inflammatory drugs.
You should be wary if you notice an admixture of blood in the sputum – this is a reason for immediate medical attention, as the blood indicates a serious damage not only to the mucous membrane, but also to the deeper structures of the bronchi. It is possible that this is the first signal of such terrible diseases as tuberculosis or a lung tumor. The appearance of hemoptysis requires a mandatory examination by a doctor, not only to establish a diagnosis, but also for the selection of cough suppressants. In no case can not be stimulated with expectorants, the release of blood may increase.
Especially I want to say about cough as one of the typical manifestations of pneumonia. Usually there are fever, chills, headache. There is pain in the side on the side of inflammation, aggravated by coughing.
But pneumonia can occur without temperature. Must be alerted And to force to see a doctor appeared shortness of breath, sweating, weakness, dry cough or with sputum.
The most difficult to diagnose erased forms of pneumonia in smokers. Many of them suffer from the so-called bronchitis of the smoker, which is characterized by chronic inflammation of the bronchial mucosa, exacerbated irritability of their receptors, increased secretion and difficulty of drainage function due to the partial death of cilia. Smokers get accustomed to constant coughing and therefore often seek medical help when the inflammatory process in the lungs takes a chronic course.
So, do not think cough is something not worthy of attention. And even if the cough does not bother you too, consult a doctor. Who knows, maybe you will save yourself from serious complications.