Irritant cough (dry cough) often occurs as part of a cold, but can also have other causes. The coughing attacks are perceived as agonizing and often rob the affected person of sleep at night. We reveal the causes behind dry coughing and what helps against irritable coughing. We will introduce you to prescription-free and prescription-only medicines as well as effective home remedies.
Cold as a possible cause of irritable cough
Coughing is not an independent clinical picture, but a symptom that can occur in the context of various diseases. Irritant cough can indicate bronchial asthma, pleurisy, and diseases of the heart or stomach. Similarly, certain drugs, such as ACE inhibitors, can cause a dry cough. However, irritable coughing occurs particularly frequently during the course of a cold.
Teething cough: Torturing at night
In the case of a cold, viruses penetrate the body, settle in the mucous membranes and cause inflammation there. If the mucous membranes in the throat are irritated, a neuronal signal to the cough centre triggers the cough reflex. Only when the mucous membranes are no longer inflamed does the cough no longer occur.
A distinction is made between dry irritable cough (unproductive cough) and cough with sputum (productive cough) in the case of a cough that occurs as part of a cold:
- Dry irritable cough occurs in the first phase of infection and is often perceived as very stressful – especially when it disturbs sleep at night.
- Only in the second phase, when the formed mucus can be coughed up, do those affected feel relief from the cough.
Teething cough in children
Not only adults, but also children are affected by chesty cough. If the cause is a cold, treatment with household remedies is recommended if the symptoms are milder. As a parent, you should also make sure that your child drinks enough fluids.
If the cough persists for a longer period of time or if fever and pain occur additionally, you should consult a doctor. The doctor can determine the exact cause of the irritable cough – it may also indicate an allergy or the onset of bronchial asthma. For children under the age of two, a doctor should always be consulted as a precaution.
What helps against chesty cough?
In the case of irritable cough, as in the case of other symptoms of colds, care must also be taken to ensure adequate fluid intake. Instead of drinking larger quantities at once, it is best to take small sips of tea or soup over and over again.
Also make sure that the air humidity in the rooms is high enough: ventilate regularly and, if necessary, place a bowl of water on the heater. Ventilation is important to remove pathogens from the air and replace it with fresh air.
4 Home remedies for chesty cough
There are also various household remedies for chesty cough:
Onion syrup: Schne >
5 Facts about chesty cough – © istockphoto, violet-blue
medicines for chesty cough
For the treatment of dry irritable cough, medications are used that relieve the irritation (antitussives). Some medications alleviate the symptoms by attenuating the cough centre, others inhibit the cough receptors in the bronchi or reduce the transmission of the irritation.
Medicines containing the active ingredients are suitable for the treatment of chesty cough:
- Noscapin or
Medications with codeine, dihydrocodeine, or noscapine are prescription only. Codeine and dihydrocodeine should not be used for long periods of time because they can make you addicted.
Since the cough stimulus is an important protective reflex, drugs against irritable cough should only be taken if the cough is so severe that treatment with household remedies has no effect.
Various herbal products are also available for the treatment of chesty cough. Although they are somewhat less effective than the drugs mentioned above, they do not have any unpleasant side effects. Herbal products are usually sufficient to treat chesty cough caused by cold. Among other things, products with marshmallow root, ribwort plantain herb or mallow leaves have proven successful.
Icelandic moss pastilles are also recommended. By sucking the pastilles, the mucous membranes in the throat are moistened and the irritation caused by coughing is alleviated. In addition, the mucilaginous sugars in Iceland Moss ensure that a protective film covers the dry mucous membranes. This can soothe the mucous membranes and the irritable cough subsides.
Updated: 20.03.2019 – Author: Kathrin Mehner