Cough is not an independent disease, but it is one of the symptoms of a cold and is a natural defense reaction of our body to clear the airways of pathogens or substances such as mucus. As a rule, a cold heals after a few days without further complications. Cough can be divided into two types:
– dry, irritating cough without mucus formation: The cough is hard and dry and can sometimes be painful. Coughing fits are often triggered by small stimuli. It is usually caused by a viral infection.
– productive cough with phlegm formation: Productive cough with mucus formation, which is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection, is less unpleasant and painful. Accompanying symptoms are fever, runny nose, or hoarseness. To ease coughing and dissolve phlegm, you can take an antitussive.
However, you shouldn’t take a cough lightly: a prolonged cough can also have serious consequences and turn into bronchitis or even pneumonia. In order not to further aggravate your cough and recover faster, you should therefore avoid these three mistakes:
1. You cough too hard
To clear the congested airways, we try to cough. This creates some pressure on the bronchi, which in the worst case can injure themselves and develop small tears. Due to further coughing attacks, these cannot heal and are further damaged, which in turn can trigger coughing. To break the vicious cycle, you should get used to coughing differently and more gently. Control the cough reflex by gently coughing into the crook of the elbow with puffy cheeks. This creates a cushion of air in the lungs, which prevents the thin membranes of the bronchial branches from hitting each other and being damaged again.
2. You take too little care of yourself
Even if you don’t otherwise feel tired and have no other complaints, you should still give yourself and your body enough rest. Stay home, try to get enough sleep and not exercise. Your body is weakened and needs all the immune defenses to properly treat the cough. Plus, you can still be contagious for quite a while, even if you’re already feeling better. If you don’t see any improvement after about four to five days, or if you have a fever in addition to the cough, you should see a doctor.
3. Take the cough suppressant at the wrong time
A cough suppressant is useful for loosening thick mucus and making coughing easier. In addition, the cough suppressant prevents pathogenic bacteria from settling in the mucus. It should therefore only be used for a productive cough with mucus formation and not for a dry and irritating cough. However, you shouldn’t take the cough suppressant for more than four to five days, and make sure you take the medication until 4pm if possible so that the viscous mucus can be dissolved and coughed up throughout the day. For restful sleep, cough suppressants are useful, which dampen a dry and irritating cough.