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Cough is one of  the most common health problems. Coughing is initiated by the nerves in the lungs to the brain. The muscles used for breathing contract, increasing the pressure in the respiratory passages and air is expelled from the mouth at great speed. Since the air is released at great speed, all the dust, dirt and secretions in the airway are expelled.

Coughing may be caused by a number of reasons

 1. Common cold is the most common cause of  cough. A cold usually is present for a few days, but the cough can last for a few weeks.

2. Breathing in dust particles, or any material through the mouth or when food is swallowed in the mouth accidentally enters the respiratory passages. Common problem for mouth breathers.

3. Acid from the stomach coming up the food pipe and then entering the respiratory tracts causing gastric reflux

4. Smoking

5. Asthma

6. Other ailments like pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, bacterial or viral infections, whooping cough, bronchitis

 

Since cough is a symptom of  a disease, the problem causing the cough should be treated. Cough due to cold or inhalation of  dust particles is not serious and is cured quickly. However, if the cough is blood stained or painful, medical attention is recommended.

 

Cough medicines are available over the counter at most pharmacy shops. Depending on the type and cause of the cough, different types of cough medicines should be taken. If a cough is due to cold,  usually phlegm is coughed up, an expectorant  cough mixture should be used for treatment. These mixtures will loosen  the phlegm from the respiratory system. A dry cough in which no phlegm is coughed up, is treated with a cough suppressant which usually contain codeine. Lemon and honey are cough suppressants which soothe the back of  the throat. If a cough persists for more than 2 weeks, a doctor should be consulted.


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