Not all coughs are the same. Some types of cough can be due to the common cold, while other coughs can be a sign of something more serious. Knowing the different types of coughs and what causes them can better help you understand what type of ailment your child might have.
What can you read in this article?
- Types of cough
- Cough symptoms you need to worry about
- Types of cough medicine
7 types of cough that you need to worry about
1. Barking cough
If your cough sounds like a dog’s bark, and if you see that he’s struggling to breathe, then it can be a sign of croup.
Croup is a viral illness in your child’s throat and voicebox that can happen if your child has a cold. Make sure to let your child drink lots of liquids and it should clear up on its own. However, it’s still best to take your child to a doctor if you suspect that they have croup.
2. Cough with phlegm
If your or your child’s cough sounds like there’s a lot of phlegm, then it could be caused by the common cold.
As with croup, make sure to let your child drink lots of liquids to help with the cough. You can also give them a warm bath to make them feel better and help ease the coughing. Colds usually last for 1-2 weeks, so if your child has a cold that’s longer than that, it’s best to take them to a doctor.
3. Dry, nighttime cough
If you have coughing fits during nighttime or cold weather, or whenever your child does any physical activity, then it might be a sign of asthma.
Asthma is a condition in which the airways become inflamed and narrowed and they produce excess mucus. If you suspect asthma, take your child to a doctor to get a proper diagnosis.
The sooner it can be diagnosed, the better, since the doctor can prescribe medicine to deal with asthma attacks as well as prevent them.
4. The miserable cough
If your child has a hoarse cough, muscle aches, sniffles, as well as a high fever, it can possibly be a sign of the flu.
Influenza, or the flu as it’s most commonly called, is a viral illness that affects the respiratory system. Handling the flu is pretty straightforward; make sure to give your child a lot of fluids as well as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. You should also make sure to let your child get the flu vaccine as soon as they are able to.
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5. Wheezing cough
If your cough has a raspy, gurgling, or whistling sound, and if he’s also breathing rapidly, then it can be a sign of bronchiolitis.
Bronchiolitis is an inflammation of the bronchioles, which are the tiniest airways in the lungs. It usually happens to babies during cold months.
If you think that your child has bronchiolitis, you can take them to a doctor to get a diagnosis. That way it can be addressed as early as possible before it becomes worse.
6. Whooping cough
If you have a lot of coughing fits or coughs more than 20 times in a single breath and their cough has a “whooping” sound, then it might be whooping cough.
Whooping cough is caused by a bacteria called pertussis which attacks the lining of the air passages and inflames and sometimes even blocks the airways.
Make sure to immunize you or your child against whooping cough as soon as they’re able to. Babies under 6 months should also be hospitalized if they’re diagnosed with whooping cough.
7. The gross-sounding cough
If your child has a cold for a week and his or her cough sounds wet and phlegmy, then it can possibly be Pneumonia symptoms.
Pneumonia is a dangerous condition that can cause our lungs to fill up with liquid. Other signs and symptoms of pneumonia include:
- Fever accompanied by sweating and chills
- Cough with green, yellow or worse, bloody mucus
- Loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath and rapid, shallow breathing
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stabbing pain in the chest especially when you inhale deeply or cough
- Fatigue and low energy
- Confusion, especially in elderly
If you suspect pneumonia, make sure to go to the doctor as soon as possible so that they can conduct an X-ray to check if it is indeed pneumonia.
For the most part, pneumonia can be treated at home with prescription medicine, but more severe cases might require your child to stay in the hospital.
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Other types of cough
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
Dry cough symptoms
Coughing is a reflex activity that clears irritants and mucus from your airway. Coughs are classified as productive or nonproductive.
A productive cough generates phlegm or mucus, which is then coughed up and out of the lungs. A dry cough, also known as nonproductive cough, produces no phlegm or mucous.
- Tickling sensation in the airways
- There is no mucous in the cough.
- The cough appears to be dry.
- It’s possible that it’ll get worse at night when you’re lying down, affecting your sleep quality.
Dry cough common causes
Having a dry cough can be caused by different things from a simple allergy to acid reflux. Read on for possible causes in order to determine the proper treatment for the kind of dry cough that you are infected with.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Postnasal drip
- Viral infection
There are also less common causes such as environmental irritants, ACE inhibitors, whooping cough, collapsed lung, lung cancer, and heart failure.
However, less common doesn’t mean they are less alarming and disturbing. If you experience any dry cough symptoms or symptoms related to these causes, immediately call your doctor and schedule a consultation.
Dry cough treatment
To relieve yourself of dry cough symptoms especially of dry cough at night, here are a few things you can do:
- Take throat lozenges to soothe and moisturize inflamed throat tissue
- Add honey to a hot drink to soothe sore throat tissue
- Use over-the-counter cough suppressants such dextromethorphan (Robitussin) to inhibit your cough reflex
- Try natural remedies such as peppermint, salt water gargle, ginger, and turmeric.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a long-term inflammatory lung condition that causes airflow obstruction in the lungs.
Long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter, most commonly cigarette smoke, is the most common cause of COPD. Moreover, COPD patients are more likely to develop heart disease, lung cancer, and a range of other illnesses.
COPD symptoms don’t normally develop until there’s been a lot of lung damage, and they usually get worse with time, especially if you keep smoking. Here are the COPD symptoms and signs:
- Tight chest
- Shortness of breath
- Chronic cough with mucus (may be clear, white, yellow or green)
- Lack of energy
- Respiratory infections
- Unintended weight loss
- Swelling of ankles, feet, or legs
People with COPD are more likely to have exacerbations, which are periods when their symptoms become worse than usual and could last for several days.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a highly contagious sickness that affects the lungs. It has the potential to spread to other parts of your body, including the brain and spine.
It is caused by the bacteria, mycobacterium tuberculosis. Coughs and sneezes send tiny droplets into the air, which spread the bacteria from person to person.
In 1985, tuberculosis infections began to rise in affluent countries, mainly due to the advent of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV affects a person’s immune system, making it unable to combat tuberculosis.
In the United States, tuberculosis began to decline in 1993 as a result of improved control strategies. However, it is still a source of concern.
Antibiotics are now used to treat the majority of cases. It does, however, take a long time as medication must be used for at least 6 to 9 months.
Although the germs that cause tuberculosis can live in your body, your immune system can usually keep you from getting sick and having no symptoms. Thus, tuberculosis can be 2 types: latent and active.
Your body contains bacteria, but your immune system prevents them from spreading. You’re not contagious and don’t have any symptoms. However, the virus is still alive and could resurface at any time.
The bacteria grow and cause you to become ill. You have the ability to transfer the sickness to others. In adults, 90% of active cases are caused by latent tuberculosis infection.
There are no indications of latent tuberculosis. It can be detected with a skin or blood test. On the other hand, Active TB manifests in the following tuberculosis symptoms:
- Cough that lasts for 3 or more weeks
- Coughing up blood or mucus
- Night sweats
- Feeling tired all the time
- Loss of appetite
- Chest pain
- Weight loss
Tuberculosis can also damage other organs in the body, such as the kidneys, spine, and brain. When tuberculosis affects organs other than your lungs, the signs and symptoms will differ.
Tuberculosis in the spine, for example, can cause back discomfort, while tuberculosis of the kidneys can produce blood in the urine.
Types of cough medicine
Photo by Alex Green from Pexels
Suppressants, expectorants, and topicals (ointments applied to the skin) are three types of cough medicine that can help with a cough caused by a cold or bronchitis.
Suppressants work by inhibiting your cough reflex. The most prevalent component in this is dextromethorphan. This type of medicine isn’t utilized to treat a mucus-producing cough. It also has no ability to alleviate discomfort.
An expectorant might be beneficial to a cough with phlegm since it clears the crud from your lungs.
Moreover, drinking water, according to some experts, is the best way to get rid of mucus, but drugs like guaifenesin can also help. This medication thins the discharge, making it easier to get rid of.
Natural therapies include camphor and menthol. They’re usually in the form of an ointment that you apply to your neck and chest. Their strong-smelling vapors may help you breathe easier and open up your stuffy head.
You can also acquire them in liquid form to use with a vaporizer, which is a device that produces steam that you can inhale. Menthol is also commonly found in lozenges and crushed tablets.
Cough vs Covid-19 symptom
Coughing can be caused by allergies or COVID-19, and it might be difficult to tell which one you have. A COVID-19 test is required to determine the exact cause of your cough but you can initially spot the differences through the other symptoms Covid-19 has.
The cough linked with COVID-19 is usually dry, similar to an allergy cough. In the event of a COVID-19 infection, however, the symptoms that may accompany your cough are different. You may also experience the following symptoms if you have COVID-19:
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
Most of these symptoms are unlikely when you have an allergic cough. Moreover, hives and itchy eyes, nose, and ears are common with an allergic cough but are an unlikely symptom of Covid-19.
If you spot the differences between a cough and a Covid-19 infection and think that you might have gotten the coronavirus, you should get tested as soon as possible to receive prompt treatment to avoid spreading the virus to others.
You may also check back with the people you met with recently, and investigate if any one of them is also manifesting symptoms or has been diagnosed with Covid-19.
Here at theAsianparent Philippines, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advise or medical treatment. TheAsianparent Philippines is not responsible to those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend to consult your doctor for clearer information.