Cough and its treatment

What can we do at home for cough is good?

Simple measures that can be taken at home when coughing first starts include:

First of all, it is necessary to drink plenty of warm water, the best treatment to soften the secretions is to drink plenty of water, but it is appropriate to drink warm water, not cold. At least two lukewarm waters per day, and more if possible, are recommended.

If the cough increases at night – especially during the first hospitalization, it may increase due to post-nasal drip – the head of the bed should be elevated, and if necessary, a double pillow should be used.

The nose must be kept open. If the nose remains blocked, mouth breathing will occur and the throat will dry out and the cough will increase.

It would be appropriate not to smoke if the cougher smokes himself, not to smoke if he does not smoke, and to stay away from all kinds of sharp odors during this period.

Again, heavy exertion can trigger coughing, the patient with cough should avoid heavy exertion.

If the cause of the cough is reflux, precautions should be taken, and if the diagnosis has been made before, the physician should be informed and the treatment should be reviewed.

If cough exceeds 2 weeks and/or increases after URTI, a physician should be consulted.

Cough suppressants are not suitable for the patient to use on their own, they must be used under the supervision of a physician. Moreover, today, the use of cough suppressants is very limited, and it is preferred to treat the cause rather than cutting the cough.

How is cough treated?

Cough will only go away if the cause is treated. It is useless to use antibiotics and cough syrups, as we often encounter, if there is a tickling cough due to asthma. What needs to be done is to organize the treatment according to the level of asthma in line with the recommendations of a chest diseases specialist and to follow up. In the presence of reflux-related cough, the patient should be referred to gastroenterology and treated after necessary examinations and follow-up should be performed by a specialist physician. It is also important to inform the patient about nutrition. It may also be the blood pressure medication used by the patient causing the cough, in this case, the cough will be stopped by changing the medication. However, sometimes cough may be prolonged up to 3 months after the cessation of treatment, and the patient should be informed about this. In the case of interstitial fibrosis with loss of flexion in the lungs, necessary treatment should be applied in the follow-up of the pulmonologist. Again, if the cough due to post-nasal drip is allergic, it will be appropriate to plan surgical treatment with ENT intervention in the presence of a condition that requires treatment for the cause in terms of allergy and surgery such as bone curvature. Sometimes, we may encounter coughs that are not due to a physical cause, which we call psychogenic cough. After all other causes have been ruled out, that is, if the patient’s examination findings, chest X-ray, pulmonary function tests, ENT examination, evaluation in terms of reflux do not reveal any pathology, but if the tickling cough continues, if the patient’s history also suggests psychic cough, it is useful to ask for a psychiatric consultation.

When should we go to the doctor if we are coughing?

If there is sputum with cough and sputum is yellow-green in consistency, if there is fever along with it, we should definitely go to the doctor. Because a pneumonia, that is, pneumonia, should not be missed, the lower respiratory tract of the patient should also be examined by the physician. If bloody sputum comes out with coughing, we should immediately consult a pulmonologist. This situation may be due to a simple nosebleed or post-nasal bleeding after sinusitis, or it may be due to a much more serious cause. A tumoral mass in the lung or tuberculosis, ie tuberculosis, or bronchiectasis or pulmonary embolism, may be the case of clotting in the pulmonary vein, and all of these conditions require very serious treatment. Apart from this, any cough that lasts for a long time should be investigated. A doctor should be consulted for coughs exceeding 2 weeks. Bronchial hyperreactivity – airway edema – that develops after viral URTI may cause a long-lasting dry cough, or a prolonged cough may be the only symptom of mild asthma. Again, in the case of interstitial fibrosis, which goes with loss of flexibility in the lungs, there is a long-term cough, and it is seen only during exertion in the early period. In other words, in the presence of cough with exertion, a physician should be consulted. In summary, cough can be a sign of many serious diseases, long-term cough should be investigated.

What are the causes of cough?

Cough can be caused by various reasons. In order to determine the cause of the cough, it is important to take a detailed history, the duration of the cough, its character – that is, whether it is sputum or not. In addition, the factors triggering cough and accompanying complaints should be known. All this information is evaluated and the cause of the cough is tried to be determined.

The common cold is the most common cause of cough, but it usually clears up in a short time.

Asthma- The most common cause of prolonged coughing is asthma. Sometimes the early symptom of asthma is a tickling cough and the patient has no other complaints. Especially in the presence of a dry cough for more than 3 weeks, the patient should apply to the chest diseases department and be evaluated for asthma, examined and pulmonary function test should be performed. Triggering cough with strong odors, cold, and exertion are findings that support asthma. Again, cough that increases at night should bring to mind the asthma disease in the foreground.

Nasal discharge due to conditions such as chronic upper airway cough syndrome, chronic sinusitis in the upper respiratory tract, and allergic rhinitis can lead to dry cough. It is more common in allergy sufferers.

Gastroesophageal reflux–GER is the cause of a significant proportion of patients with chronic cough. Cough usually starts a few hours after eating. Sometimes it can occur after going to bed at night. Cough may be accompanied by burning and heartburn in the stomach, bitter water in the mouth, a burning sensation in the chest, and hoarseness.

It has been determined that 50-90% of asthma patients have reflux. In other words, reflux is more common than normal in people with asthma. This is because asthma relaxes the muscles surrounding the stomach head. In this case, it is easier for the acidic contents of the stomach to escape into the esophagus. In addition, today air pollution, additives, GMO foods, etc. For many reasons, the rate of allergy and asthma is increasing all over the world. Therefore, the association of asthma reflux should not be overlooked.


In the conditions of our country, tuberculosis – 16,500 registered tuberculosis patients were detected in our country in 2010. Symptoms of tuberculosis are fever, night sweats, weight loss, loss of appetite and fatigue, especially in the evening. cough lasting more than two weeks, sputum production, coughing up variable amounts of blood, chest pain and shortness of breath. Complaints usually begin mildly and progress slowly. Patients may attribute these complaints to other causes and go to the doctor late. For this reason, it is also important to evaluate the coughing patients who have tuberculosis in their relatives, that is, who have a contact history, in this direction. The domestic contacts of the patients are screened in VSDs, but there is no problem in screening, and it is important to be more vigilant for patients who have complaints afterward.

Diffuse interstitial lung disease, i.e. loss of flexibility in the lungs, fibrosis

ACE inhibitor blood pressure medications

Pleura-lung membrane- diseases

Mediastinal diseases

External ear diseases


Is cough contagious?

If the cough is caused by an infection, it can also occur in the surrounding individuals with the transmission of the infection. This is due to the transmission of the infection, not the transmission of the cough. Especially children and the elderly, individuals with allergic structure, those with chronic lung, heart, kidney disease, diabetics, immunosuppressed individuals receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy are more susceptible to all kinds of infections, especially respiratory viral and bacterial infections, and are more susceptible to epidemics in winter months. Therefore, cough complaints may also occur. Since tuberculosis is also contagious, people infected with this disease also have cough.

Chest Diseases Specialist Dr. Sevin Karalar

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