Cough is a protective reaction of the body to irritation of the human respiratory tract. During a cough, the body tries to get rid of mucus, or foreign particles trapped in the respiratory tract. Various bacteria and viruses can also cause coughing.
A healthy person does not have cough under normal conditions. 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 a cough, our body is freed from dust particles and various chemicals that enter the bronchi. Thus, the sterility of the deepest parts of the bronchi, directly in contact with the alveoli of the lungs, and indeed the lungs, is maintained.
So, whether water, a crumb of bread accidentally got into the airways, did you inhale a pungent smell, for example, of tobacco smoke, and coughing is a natural protective reaction. But most often it is a consequence of some kind of painful condition.
Sometimes a cough signals a disease of the respiratory system, sometimes it is the first manifestation of a heart ailment, an allergy, or a violation of the central nervous system.
I will dwell in more detail 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, thickens, which complicates the work of cilia of the ciliated epithelium, which, like the escalator of the metro, “remove” foreign particles from the depth of the bronchi up to the oral cavity. It inhibits their progress and the fact that inflammation enhances the visco-elastic properties of mucus. There is a vicious circle: a secret stagnates in the bronchi, dust particles accumulate, microorganisms multiply (trapped both with inhaled air, and from the nasal mucosa, pharynx, palatine tonsils, plaque), and cilia-escalators can not cope with their duties. In such patients, in the morning, during coughing, mucous clear sputum is often released, after which breathing is facilitated. This cough is sanitizing, effective, it is an assistant to the sick body. But if the process drags on, the infection penetrates into the deeper parts of the bronchi, and an inflammatory lung disease can occur.
When a cough is accompanied by fever, severe weakness, sweating, the patient usually consults a doctor, and then the specialist determines the cause of the cough, makes a diagnosis, prescribes the necessary treatment. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If a person coughs, but he does not have a temperature, his health does not deteriorate significantly, he does not rush to the doctor. And the inflammatory process in the bronchi and lungs, meanwhile, intensifies, takes a chronic course. And the cough no longer helps the release of the bronchi from the mucus. Sputum is difficult to separate, it is greenish-purulent or dirty gray. In such cases, sanitation of the bronchi is required with expectorants, that is, as we say, stimulation of cough.
In clinics, expectorant drugs, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs, are prescribed individually, depending on the microflora of sputum. At home, a cough, if dry, can be mitigated by warm alkaline inhalations, a decoction or infusion of various herbs, for example, coltsfoot, wild rosemary, spring primrose, licorice and marshmallow roots. Decoctions and infusions are taken several times a day for a third or half a glass. Keep in mind that the effect of all expectorants is enhanced with plenty of warm drink.
Sometimes, especially with bronchitis with an asthmatic component, a 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, it is necessary to use bronchodilators, for example, an inhaler with salbutamol or another drug prescribed by your doctor. Of expectorant drugs, such patients are recommended herbal breast collection No. 2 containing licorice root, coltsfoot.
Patients with an obstructive form of bronchitis, when the passage of air flow through the bronchi is disturbed, thermopsis infusion helps well; it helps to deepen and facilitate breathing, stimulate cough.
But an annoying 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 anti-inflammatory drugs.
You should be wary if you notice an admixture of blood in sputum – this is an occasion for immediate medical attention, since blood indicates serious damage not only to the mucous membrane, but also to deeper structures of the bronchi. It is possible that this is the first signal of such formidable 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 to select funds that suppress cough. In no case can you stimulate it with expectorants, blood flow may increase.