Cough attack: what to do to stop it and how to relieve it

We've all had a cough sometime. In fact, I would almost dare to say that all of us, at some point also, have suffered some terrible coughing attack; that annoying violent, abrupt and noisy expulsion of the air that we contain in the lungs, but that although we want to stop, we simply can not, even missing the air. Its causes can be really varied: irritation of the respiratory tract about the climate, unhealthy habits like tobacco, infection (as is the case of flu and colds) or choking. It can also be a type of conscious cough, which we do with the aim of keeping the lungs' air clean of different foreign substances.

Did you know that there are different types of cough, whose causes and characteristics are just as different? We can mention the dry or non-productive cough (consisting of a type of cough without mucus that does not produce expectoration), the productive cough (which does produce mucus and therefore expectoration), the asthmatic cough (with respiratory difficulty and a kind of "whistle"). ") And the psychogenic or psychosomatic cough.

However, When a coughing attack occurs it is usually due mainly to the presence of a dry, irritative and non-productive cough, to be characterized as a type of strong and dry cough. This can be acute (lasting less than three weeks), or chronic (when it is constant and lasts more than three weeks).

What to do when we suffer a coughing attack?

When we suffer a cough attack the main recommendation is to stay calm and not get nervous, since the nervous tension that we can undergo in those moments can worsen the cough and become definitive in a dangerous circle when it costs us to breathe normally.

Once we are calm, it is recommended take a deep breath to try to relax, Y gulp. It is also useful drink warm water to keep the throat hydrated.

From a medical point of view, when the attack of cough is strong the specialist tends to prescribe codeine or dextromethorphan in the form of syrup or pills. We can also mention noscapine, dihydrocodeine, pentoxiveria or benproperin. All are antitussive medications that help in the control of cough. However, remember that the consumption of any type of medication or drug must have been previously prescribed by the doctor, self-medication is not recommended.

How to relieve coughing attack

  1. Keep calm and breathe slowly and deeply. You should try to breathe through your nose, which will help you relieve and control your cough.
  2. A candy or pastille with honey or herbs It will help you relieve cough. The candies or pills with menthol are not recommended because they irritate the throat more.
  3. Go outside to breathe fresh air. Sometimes you just need a little fresh air to stop the coughing attack. Try to breathe normally.
  4. Take a hot drink of tea and honey when the coughing attack has eased. It is ideal to calm the cough and soften the throat. You can add ginger, cayenne pepper, lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
  5. Take 1 teaspoon of honey. It is especially useful for soothing the cough while softening your irritated throat, helping to coat it by reducing the annoying feeling of irritation and roughness.
  6. The balsamic creams applied on the neck and chest They help to calm the cough, especially when it is repetitive. Of course, you have to wait between 10 to 15 minutes to make the expected effect.

Remember that the main thing whenever you have a coughing attack is to try to stay calm and-above all-avoid getting nervous. In case that who has the attack of cough is a companion try to follow the same advice indicated above, helping him so that he does not get nervous.

Images | Russell Sprague / frankieleon / Amy This article is published for informational purposes only. It can not and should not replace the consultation with a Physician. We advise you to consult your Trusted Doctor.

Mayo Clinic's Chronic Cough Clinic (July 2022)