Cough is a reflex symptom which keeps throat and airway clear, it clears the substances which cause irritation in our air passage or it protects the respiratory system by clearing it irritants and secretions. When the level of irritants in the air is high or when the respiratory system becomes infected, coughing may become frequent and prolonged.
(A) Acute – laryngitis, tracheitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, whooping cough
(B) Chronic – pulmonary tuberculosis, chronic bronchitis, chronic laryngitis, lung abscess.
A cough that lasts for less than 3 weeks is an acute cough. A cough that lasts between 3 and 8 weeks, improving by the end of that period, is a subacute cough. A persistent cough that lasts more than 8 weeks is a chronic cough.
Causes of cough
Infections – such as laryngitis, bronchitis, bronchaictasis
Mechanical irritation –
- Inhalation of dust
- Irritant gases
- Chemical fumes
- Pungent smell
- Tobacco smoking
- Foreign body in larynx or bronchi
- Compression of air passages
- Bronchogenic carcinoma
- Pulmonary oedema
Thermal stimulus – inhalation of cold air, especially in asthmatics, and those with intercurrent infections
Habit cough – when a patient has suffered from prolonged illness, in which cough has been a prominent feature, it may at times persist as a habit long after the cause has ceased to operate.
Psychogenic cough– may be a form of obsessional neurosis or co-ordinated tic.
– from reflux irritation of vagus –
(a) wax in external ear or otitis media
(b) distension of stomach or rarely of colon.
(c) Liver abscess or sub diaphragmatic abscess.
Types of cough
- Dry or unproductive
- Wet or productive
- Suppressed and painful
- Toneless, whispering, aphonic
- Meal related
Diagnosis of Cough
Physical examination – sputum color and consistency, examination of lungs, examination of liver and spleen, lymph nodes
Blood test – include complete blood count, ESR, blood culture, allergy profile etc.
Other test – include X-RAY chest, CT scan and MRI chest, barium swallow, X-RAY sinus, echocardiogram, lung function test, sputum microscopy.
Homeopathy Treatment of Cough
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat cough but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several remedies are available to cure cough that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensations and modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. There are following homeopathy medicines, which are helpful in the treatment of cough:
Aconite, Belladonna, Natrum mur, Silicea, Bryonia, Rhus tox, Pulsatilla, Antim tart, Ipecac, Spongia, Drosera, Baryta carb, Calcarea carb, Kali bichrom, Natrum sulph, Allium cepa, Rumex, Causticum, Coccus cacti, Cuprum met, Arsenic album, Phosphorous, Hepar sulph, Kali carb, Sambucus and many other remedies.
Aconite- Ringing or whistling cough; spasmodic, dry barking; of measles; at night; absence of sputa or sputa thin; suffocating cough awakes patient from sleep; amelioration from lying of back; aggravation after eating or drinking; at night, from exposure to dry cold winds, walking in open air, in a upright position, from deep inspiration, from speaking.
Alumina– coughing with marked dryness of mucus membrane; dry, hacking cough with frequent sneezing; every morning there is a long attack of dry cough, with difficult little mucus; dry cough at night with dryness of throat; splinter like sensation in throat when swallowing; hoarseness.
Ambra grisea – nervous spasmodic coughing; paroxysm coming from deep in chest, excited by violent tickling in throat; usually at night; spasmodic coughing with oppressed feeling of chest, whistling in chest; worse by drinking cold drinks, by speaking.
Ammonium carb – well known medicine for chronic cough of old people; dry cough at night with expectoration only in the morning; incessant coughing, excited by a sensation as if down in the larynx; violent cough about 3 or 4 A.M., with spasmodic constriction of chest.
Ammonium mur – dry coughing from tickling in throat in the morning; worse when turning on side and taking a deep breath; morning cough with expectoration; rawness and soreness of throat; with expectoration of lumpy mucus.
Antim tart – profuse mucus in the chest with inability to expectorate; violent coughing after each meal; rattling of cough without expectoration; suffocating attacks of coughing; aggravation after eating, after midnight, damp sellers, lying down, every morning, amelioration from sitting upright, from expectoration.
Argentum nitricum – cough with rawness of throat, irritation of the vagus and sympatheticus: dryness of the throat when beginning to speak; aggravation just before midnight; laughing, and sudden exertion.
Arsenic album – oppressed feeling in the chest; especially in the night, must sit up as soon as cough commences; aggravates after eating and drinking; caused by checked or non appearing skin eruptions; breathing arrested with expectoration of frothy mucus; unceasing cough, excited by smoking sensation or as of vapors of sulphur in larynx.
Arsenic album – phthisis; short, suppressed cough; often loose with muco-purulent expectoration, occasionally stringy, especially night and morning
Belladonna – irritable and inflammatory condition of larynx and trachea; short, dry cough from tickling in the larynx, with stitches in different parts, often induced by talking.
Bryonia – dry cough, coming from gastric region, and preceded by a crawling and tickling sensation in epigastrium or in throat, followed by mucus sputa; with involuntary discharge of urine; stitches in the chest and small of the back, aggravated by touch, motion, talking, laughing, eating and drinking; cough at night in bed, compelling one to spring up and assume erect posture at once; cough excited by beer and relieved by warm drinks.
Carbo veg – coughing with greenish yellow fetid expectoration; spasmodic hollow cough in short, hard spells, caused by a feeling as of vapors of sulphur; worse evening or before midnight; by going in to cold air or in to cool air from a warm place, with copious sputa night and morning.
Causticum – catarrhal aphonia; cough relieved by a swallow of cold water; worse from exhaling cold air, from evening till midnight, when awaking; the quantity of mucus in the throat and chest produces spells of coughing; sensation of soreness down the trachea and under sternum in chest when coughing.
Chamomilla – excellent remedy for cough in children, which is worse at night, from crying, during sleep, and cold air. Marked irritability and better by being carried or by rocking motion.
Coccus cacti – remedy for cough in drunkards; catarrhs which come on early in fall, upon first change from warm to cold weather, lasting until next summer when weather again becomes warm.
Drosera – nervous, spasmodic cough; aggravation after midnight, afternoon and evening, by warmth, tobacco, drinking; nocturnal cough of phthisical patients, it sounds loose, but nothing comes up; expectoration yellow, offensive, bitter, salty which has to be swallowed.
Dulcamara – cough caused by exposure to damp, cold weather; after living in damp cold basements; spasmodic cough, with profuse secretion of mucus in the larynx and trachea.
Hepar sulph – croupy night coughing, the phlegm is loose and chocking; patient Is hypersensitive; it is worse by exposure to chilly night air; and from drinking cold water; severe laryngeal catarrh, with roughness and pain in the upper part of throat.
Hyoscyamus – nervous cough which is aggravated by lying down; with spasm of larynx; dry cough especially in night, with scanty expectoration.
Ipecac – the chest is full of phlegm, suffocative attack of cough, with vomiting and retching; worse from least motion and better in open air.
Kali bi – expectoration of tough mucus which comes in strings; cough with wheezing; excited by tickling in larynx; toothache when coughing.
Kali carb – dry cough after midnight, till 3.00 to 4.00 A.M, in paroxysms; from tickling in larynx, throat and trachea; with vomiting of ingesta.
Phosphorous – rawness of entire respiratory tract; sensation of tightness across the chest; feeling of rawness and soreness in trachea and bronchi, nervous cough when anyone enters the room, headache, burning dryness along with cough; pains in chest often compels him to sit up.
Pulsatilla – cough with sensation of vomiting; dry cough at night, with dyspnoea, loose cough during the day; dry after every sleep, in the evening when lying down.
Rhus tox – dry cough, caused by tickling in the bronchi; cough with taste of blood; although no blood is to be seen, cough with tearing pain in the chest.
Rumex – exalting the sensibility and diminishing the secretion of larynx and trachea; hoarse, barking cough, in attacks, every night 11. P.M and at 2 and 5 A.M. Coughing in any position, he keeps the head covered with bedclothes, as when undressing and going to bed, it makes the chest feel bruised, and it seems as if the cough did not reach low enough down to raise phlegm; coughing by every inhalation of cool air and at night
Sambucus nigra – increased secretion of the skin and of the respiratory mucus membrane; sudden nocturnal suffocative attacks from obstruction of thorax.
Spongia – dry, barking, wheezing, caused by burning tickling in larynx, chronic cough in violent attacks, worse by lying with the head low, the room getting too warm, relieved by eating ever so little.