An insight into persistent dry cough, types, at night, lung cancer, won’t go away, with phlegm, treatment and home remedies.
Types of cough
A cough is a common symptoms of childhood illness and is sometimes difficult to treat, usually disturbing sleep and everyday functioning.
Although a cough might sound awful, it’s not usually an indication of a serious condition. In fact, coughing is a healthy reflex that assists protect the airways in throat and chest. But sometimes, your child’s coughs might warrant a trip to the doctor.
Understanding what different types of coughs mean will assist you understand how to take care of them and when to visit the doctor.
- Wet and productive
Mucus usually runs down the back of throat at night (postnasal drip), and likely there is a runny nose to contend with too
An infection (like a cold, sinusitis, or even pneumonia), or allergies.
Use the saline nose drops, and ensure to offer lots of fluids to assist thin the mucus. Dairy products (like the milk, yoghurts, etc.) may thicken the mucus, so should be limited as much as possible, although young babies under one will still require milk for their daily nutrient intake.
If the child has a fever together with the cough, call the doctor so as to rule out a more serious infection.
- Dry and raspy
There is irritation somewhere within the airways
An infection, or other irritant, such as dust, or smoke, which produces little or even no mucus.
Soothe it as you would for a wet cough, with the nose drops and fluids. If you suspect that the persistent dry cough is allergy-related, then limit your child’s exposure and wait. Speak to the doctor if you are concerned.
- Sounding like a barking seal or dog
Your child’s airways are constricted or inflamed.
Croup, a viral infection which is worse during the night.
Sit with the little one on knee in a steamy bathroom for about 20 minutes, or even go outside in fresh air if it’s cool (not cold). If she’s having significant trouble in breathing, then go to hospital for treatment.
- Accompanied by wheezing
The child has mucus to clear out of her airways, or has got postnasal drip.
Asthma or bronchiolitis, which is an infection of lungs’ small airways which is usually seen in children under the age of three years.
See the doctor so as to find out exactly what’s happening. If your child has asthma, medication might require tweaking. If it is an infection, then there might be a need for antibiotics.
- A severe coughing followed by a ‘whoop’
Your child is coughing all the air out of lungs, then taking in a very deep breath.
Whooping cough, a bacterial infection called pertussis.
Call the doctor immediately. Antibiotics might be prescribed so as to make the child less contagious, but these won’t treat the cough or even shorten its duration. This might be a dangerous infection in babies, which is the why staying on top of pertussis shot is important.
Persistent dry cough at night
Coughing at night prevents you from getting restful sleep.
Any health problem which leads to you to cough during the day will most likely cause coughing at night. For instance, the common cold may give rise to several symptoms, which includes persistent dry cough, which stay with you day and night until an infection resolves.
- Asthma – this is a chronic disease of bronchioles and commonly encountered amongst the young people. These small tubes usually transport air into depths of lungs and may become inflamed and then narrowed due to several factors, which includes an allergic tendency.
Some of early signs of asthma are coughing at night, coughing whilst exercising and also a mild wheeze
- Heart failure – this is a weakening of heart’s ability to pump blood. As the heart struggles to move blood around the body, fluid builds up in the tissues. In lungs, the cough reflex is then triggered in an attempt to rid body of any unwanted fluid.
The situation is then made worse when lying down as the posture allows fluid to accumulate easily in lungs. Heart failure and heart disease are main causes of persistent coughing at night in people who are over 65 years of age
- Gastro-esophageal reflux disease – this is also known as ‘acid reflux’. It is normally associated with indigestion and also the reflux happens when acid in stomach escapes up into esophagus. If severe, this usually irritates the pharynx (back of throat) and upper parts of respiratory system, triggering cough reflex.
Lying down usually encourages reflux as stomach and mouth are at approximately the same level which is the reason why people who have acid reflux might cough more at night
- Sinusitis – the sinuses are the small cavities that are lying within the cheekbone and forehead. Sinusitis is a condition which comes about when lining of cavities are infected and inflamed, leading to the main symptom of the feeling of blocked nose.
Mucus in sinuses drains into back of the nose and also the pharynx. When you lie down, then the excess mucus drips down into the back of throat, irritates the tissues, thus triggering the cough reflex
Persistent dry cough lung cancer
The early symptoms of lung cancer might be a slight cough or even shortness of breath, largely depending on part of the lung that is affected.
As cancer develops, the symptoms become more severe. Like most other types of cancer, lung cancer might also lead to systemic symptoms, such as a loss of appetite or even general fatigue.
Symptoms and signs of early lung cancer
There might be no symptoms at the onset of disease. When present, common symptoms of the lung cancer include:
- Coughing: This includes a persistent dry cough that doesn’t go away or even changes to a chronic “smoker’s cough,” like more pain.
- Coughing up blood: Coughing up rust-colored sputum should always be discussed with the doctor.
- Breathing difficulties: Shortness of breath or noisy breathing may all be indications of lung cancer.
- Loss of appetite: Many cancers leads to changes in appetite, which might cause unintended weight loss.
- Fatigue: It is very common to feel weak or even excessively tired.
- Recurring infections: Recurring infections, such as bronchitis or even pneumonia, might be one of the signs of lung cancer.
Dry tickly cough that won’t go away
You require to have the throat, lower esophagus and sinuses evaluated to see if a cause for your symptoms may be found and then treated.
Persistent dry cough with phlegm
Stress, more especially when it’s chronic, may make colds to last longer. To beat back a lingering cough, slow down and ensure that you ease stress when you’re sick. Pushing yourself hard might make you to be sicker. One way to relax is resting more: Aim for about 8 hours of sleep a night.
Not Drinking Enough Fluids
When you have a cold, you require to drink a lot of fluids. Water and soup can assist to loosen mucus in airways so you can cough it up and out. Alcohol and drinks that have caffeine in them are not helpful choices as they may dehydrate you, which is the opposite of what you require when sick. Another way to add some moisture to your airways is by use of a saline nasal spray or even a humidifier.
Overusing OTC Nasal Decongestant Spray
Over-the-counter nasal decongestant sprays might assist with a stuffy nose. Don’t use them for more than 4 days. If you do, when you stop taking them, your symptoms might be worse, a rebound effect. Those excess sprays make your nasal membranes to swell, which then triggers more congestion and persistent dry cough.
Sometimes, a cold might leave behind a parting gift. When airways are raw and much irritated after a cold, it’s easier for the bacteria to invade. Bacteria may lead to sinus infections and pneumonia. If you have pain along with the lingering cough, a bacterial infection might be the reason. See the doctor, as you might require to take an antibiotic.
Your Blood Pressure Medicine
Taking an ACE inhibitor may be why your cough won’t quit. About 1 out of every 5 people who take the drug develop a chronic, dry cough is a side effect. If you have the side effect, don’t just stop taking it but do talk to the doctor. Another drug might work better for you.
Persistent dry cough in children
Wheezing, or even breathing with a whistling or even a rattling sound in chest, it what most people think of when they hear the word asthma.
Asthma might present with a chronic cough as the only symptom. When doing the diagnostic investigations for chronic cough reversible airflow obstruction on the pulmonary function test might also be used so as to diagnose asthma which presents with cough as the only symptom.
A cough which is present after a child falls asleep is suggestive of asthma.
With asthma, the body’s levels of cortisol naturally decrease at night. This might trigger asthmatic bronchospasm, where air passages are inflamed and narrow.
- Whooping cough
Pertussis, better called whooping cough, is brought about by a bacterial infection. Pertussis can lead to people coughing so uncontrollably that they have to catch breath by inhaling deeply they make a “whooping” sound.
A persistent dry cough from the condition could last for several months, and complications may be serious, including apnea, decreased oxygen, seizures and death. In some other cases, complications may need hospitalization for the supportive care (including mechanical ventilation in very serious cases).
Because complications may be life-threatening amongst the children, it is usually recommended that adults protect their children by getting vaccinated (in addition to making sure children get vaccine as part of the recommended vaccination schedule).
- Cystic fibrosis
In rare cases, a continued cough might be an indication of a more serious condition like cystic fibrosis, a progressive genetic disease which leads to persistent lung infections.
Dry cough treatment
When steamy showers, and cough drops don’t assist, you may turn to over-the-counter medicines so as to ease your cough.
Decongestants: This relieve nasal congestion by shrinking the swollen nasal tissue and then reducing mucus production. They then dry up the mucus in lungs and open up the airway passages.
Decongestants normally come in pills, liquids, and also nasal sprays under several brand names. Look for phenylephrine as the active ingredient taken by mouth, but be careful.
The medicines can raise blood pressure, so people experiencing hypertension, heart disease or any other medical problems need to be careful on their usage. Also, overuse of the decongestants may cause excessive dryness, which may trigger a persistent dry cough.
Decongestant nasal sprays, if used for more than 4 days, can cause rebound congestion. It’s best to use them for 3 days and then stop.
Cough suppressants and expectorants: If you’re coughing so much that the chest hurts and you’re getting a bad night’s sleep, then consider a cough suppressant like dextromethorphan. The doctors recommend use of cough suppressants only at night.
When a person is experiencing cough that is thick containing phlegm, doctors say that it helps to take a cough expectorant like guaifenesin. Expectorants usually thin out the mucus so one can easily cough it up.
Persistent dry cough remedy
Doctors also suggest creating steam. A person can do this through boiling a pot of water and breathing in steam so as to settle a tickle in throat. A tickle happens due to throat dryness and also mucus drainage. Other steam options are running a hot shower or even using a vaporizer.
Tea can be a good way that can be used to increase fluids and assist to thin mucus secretions that accompany and then trigger a persistent dry cough. Some teas have added benefits, like emission of soothing vapors and also possession of throat-calming herbs.
Good choices are chamomile and peppermint. Lemons or even the lemon juice added to tea can thin the thick mucus secretions which run down the throat and lead to having a hacking cough.
Sweetening the tea to taste with honey may serve an additional purpose of coating the dry throat and then reducing coughing. Doctors point out that honey is as effective in suppressing a cough as some of the over-the-counter cough suppressants.
Throat lozenges increase salivation in mouth which gives more lubrication to a dry throat. Some lozenges might reduce persistent dry cough also. Some options have peppermint and honey. Doctors also point out that hard candies might quiet a cough just as well as most of the cough drops.
- 8 Reasons Your Cough Is Not Improving: http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/stubborn-cough#1
- 8 Causes of Chronic Cough in Kids: https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/chronic-cough-kids
- Cough Relief: How to Lose a Bad Cough: http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/cough-relief-how-lose-bad-cough#1
- Remedies for a Dry Hacking Cough: http://www.livestrong.com/article/148243-remedies-for-a-dry-hacking-cough/
- Treating a cough yourself: https://beta.nhs.uk/conditions/cough
- 5 Types Of Cough And When To Call A Doctor: https://www.eumom.ie/baby/baby-health/5-types-of-cough-and-when-to-call-a-doctor
- Coughing at night: https://www.avogel.co.uk/health/immune-system/cough/coughing-at-night/