A cough is your body’s way of clearing its airway. It’s a simple reflex action to move mucus or an irritant out of the way. Most people with a cold or flu develop a cough. It can be dry and itchy, or chesty and phlegmy.
Chesty coughs are known as ‘productive’ because they expel mucus or phlegm. An unproductive cough is basically dry cough, meaning it produces no phlegm. It feels like a dry ‘hurt’ in your throat.
What are the symptoms of a cough?
The symptoms will differ depending on the kind of cough you have.
A dry cough doesn’t produce mucus. It’s tickly, dry and sometimes painful. It’s a constant irritation in your throat that feels scratchy and raspy.
A chesty cough helps to clear mucus or phlegm from the airways. It’s the cough that brings with it a heavy feeling in your chest, caused by the mucus build-up, and usually comes hand in hand with a cold or flu .
What is phlegm? Phlegm is another name for mucus that is produced by the membranes in your respiratory tract. It acts to trap dirt, bacteria and to fight infection. When you have an infection your body will produce more phlegm than normal, causing a build-up in your chest. It may sound terrible when you cough, but it’s actually your body doing its best to fight infection.
What are the causes of a cough?
A dry, persistent cough is brought on by the inflammation of the upper airways. This is often caused by a throat infection, dust, smoke or foreign bodies.
A tickly cough is just another way of describing a dry cough. It doesn’t cause mucus but does cause you to cough as a reaction to the persistent tickle in your throat.
A chesty cough or mucus cough is a heavy-feeling cough. The cough reflex helps your body break up and remove the phlegm/mucus that builds in your respiratory tract and chest. There are a number of CODRAL® treatments to help you get rid of mucus. Find them at the bottom of this page.
How to relieve a cough?
If you need to get rid of a cough, first work out if it’s a dry or chesty cough, this will help you treat it correctly.
Let’s talk natural remedies first.
- Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and help thin out the mucus secretions.
- Have a long hot shower as the steam will relieve congestion.
- Gargle with warm salty water four times a day. Don’t swallow.
- An oldie but a goldie. Have a steam bath for your head with eucalyptus oil. The vapours work wonders with congestion, helping to get rid of phlegm.
- A dab of peppermint essential oil on your hanky works well in relieving congestion, for some people.
- Try a humidifier at night.
If natural remedies aren’t helping relieve your cough and it’s related to a cold or flu, CODRAL® has a range of products for effective cough relief.