Coughing

Coughing is a vital mechanism to protect the respiratory tract and keep it free.

Overview

Coughing is a vital mechanism to protect the respiratory tract and keep it free. But coughing can also be a symptom of many diseases, in particular those that affect the bronchial tubes and the lungs. The mucous membranes of the bronchial tubes are extremely sensitive to inflammatory stimuli and foreign bodies. Using household remedies and drinking plenty of fluids can help relieve a cough.

Symptoms

  • Hard and forceful exhalation (triggered by the coughing reflex or randomly)
  • Acute if > 8 weeks: chronic
  • Productive (with secretion) or unproductive (dry)

Causes and treatment

Causes

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Physical examination, listening to the lungs
  • Advanced examinations (selection)
    • Blood test, analysis of secretion
    • Imaging (x-ray, CT scan/computed tomography, etc.)
    • Lung function
Possible therapies
  • Depends on the cause of the cough
  • Respiratory physiotherapy, if necessary (helps to loosen phlegm, for example)
  • Medication (use is controversial, to loosen phlegm or suppress the urge to cough)

What can I do myself?

Household remedies

  • (Milk with) honey, onion juice, elderflower cordial
  • Sage as tea, juice, compress, gargle
  • Chest poultices with quark or potato
  • Don’t take cough-suppressing medication for a productive cough (with sputum)
  • Drink plenty of fluids (water, tea, fruit juice)
  • Don't smoke
  • Cough into a paper tissue or the crook of your elbow
  • Regularly wash your hands
  • Airing the room for short periods – also in winter – prevents the air from drying out

When to see a doctor?

Synonyms

coughing, cough

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Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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