Synonyms in a broader sense
Chicks, chestnuts, irritable cough, coughing irritation engl. : to cough
Coughing is the body’s natural method of clearing the airways of foreign bodies and pathogens and is therefore a sign of a healthy immune system. Coughing is a symptom and not a disease in itself; the causes are manifold. There are different types of cough: it can be acute, subacute or chronic and it can be productive, i.e. with sputum, or unproductive.
Acute cough can last up to eight weeks; if it lasts three to eight weeks, it is called subacute cough. If the cough persists for longer than eight weeks, it is called chronic. Coughing usually occurs in the context of harmless illnesses such as a cold; serious illnesses as a cause are rare, but must be excluded.
If the following warning symptoms are added to the cough, a doctor should be consulted immediately: Dyspnea, tachypnea, tachycardia, stabbing chest pain, breathing sounds and noises when breathing in and/or out. In the absence of fever, general but mild cold symptoms such as cough, rhinitis, hoarseness, it is usually a common cold, which is treated with home remedies and does not require the administration of antibiotics, since the cough usually goes away on its own after one to two weeks. If there is a moderate fever, the cough is first dry and then accompanied by a stubborn sputum, it can be a bronchitis, which is usually caused by viruses and is treated like a cold.
If the cough is accompanied by high fever above 38.5°C, accelerated breathing and fatigue, and yellowish or greenish discolored sputum, it is probably pneumonia, which should be treated with antibiotics. Other causes of coughing can be acute sinusitis, allergic asthma, whooping cough or the worsening of a chronic condition such as COPD or asthma. Coughing is a natural way for the body to get rid of pathogens, but tormenting coughing at night or over a long period of time is often felt to be exhausting.
Often simple household remedies can bring relief. Probably the most important and best known household remedy is sufficient fluid intake. Teas in particular help to keep the mucous membranes moist and liquefy mucus.
Cough teas can be bought in all variations in drugstores and supermarkets, especially thyme, sage, lime blossom and aniseed have proven to be effective, but ivy, liquorice or various mixtures of the herbs are also possible. Ideally, the tea is sweetened with a little honey, not only because it tastes better, but also because studies have shown that honey has a similar cough-killing effect to some cough syrups. Especially on the sleep quality honey seems to have a positive effect.
Alternatively also one to three teaspoons honey purely can be distributed over the day or taken before going to sleep. Babies under 12 months should not be given honey, because it can contain poisons of a bacterium, against which the intestine becomes immune only later. Sweets especially for coughs or sweets in general stimulate the flow of saliva and can reduce a dry throat and the irritation of coughing.
A well-tried household remedy for coughs is the intake of onion juice or onion syrup, which with its natural essential oils has a disinfecting and expectorant effect. For the syrup, briefly boil a chopped onion with 150ml of water, sweeten with a little honey, press through a sieve and let it cool down. Take a teaspoon of this several times a day.
Small children can use compresses around the chest and back. The combination of warmth and essential oils helps with a cough. For example, a few drops of lavender oil are put into hot water and soaked in a cloth.
When the wrap is still very warm but no longer hot (be careful because of the risk of burns), it is wrapped around the child’s chest, another layer of cloth is placed over it and the child is well covered. The wrap can be used as long as it is comfortable and the child tolerates it. Alternatively, the wrap can be soaked with melted butter or olive oil (warm it up and rub the breast, then wrap it with a cloth), warm curd cheese, lemon slices/juice or teas made from thyme, sage or lime blossom.
If the children do not tolerate wraps, they can alternatively be creamed with cough balm.However, it is recommended that children avoid the use of strong essential oils such as peppermint and eucalyptus, as these can irritate the mucous membranes so much that breathing difficulties can occur. Wraps and balms can of course also be used for adults. Another popular household remedy are cold baths or foot baths, which are supposed to stimulate the blood circulation of the respiratory tract.
Inhaling saltwater steam, camomile steam or the use of an inhaler can also bring relief. The classic variant is a bowl or pot of hot water and the addition of camomile tea/extract, salt or other essential oils (again, caution is advised with oils that contain a lot of menthol: They can cause breathing difficulties for asthmatics and small children), holding the head over it and covering it with a cloth. The more comfortable and safer option is to use a steam inhaler (available in pharmacies), which specifically moistens the upper respiratory tract and protects the sensitive eyes. An inhaler also reaches the lower respiratory tract and loosens the mucus stuck there. You can read more about this topic here: Cough Home remedy