One of the symptoms of a cold is the cough. But coughing is not just coughing: whether dry cough or cough with mucus is of considerable importance for the treatment of cough. Coughing is a self-cleaning and defense mechanism of the respiratory tract. This mechanism is supported by the movement of the ciliary epithelium and the mucus production, which then carry off the foreign matter. In the course of inflammation of the bronchi there is an increased production of viscous mucus, which the ciliated epithelium can no longer carry away.
In the first phase of infection, the bronchi often respond to any breath with a coughing sensation. The invading viruses - the main cause of a cold - attack the mucous membrane of the bronchi and trigger inflammation. At first, however, neither excessively nor pathologically altered mucus is produced in the bronchi.
The still existing cough causes no relief at this stage of the disease - therefore it is also called "unproductive".
What helps against dry cough?
The "dry" cough is very strenuous and stressful, but usually over after two to three days.
In this phase, the best anticoagulants help. They act according to different principles:
- First, by damping the cough center. Here are the active ingredients codeine, dihydrocodeine or noscapine to call.
- In addition, by inhibiting the cough receptors in the bronchial mucosa or by reducing the transmission of stimuli (clobutinol, pentoxyverin).
When choosing a cough suppressant, you should be aware of side effects, as some drugs can make you tired. Herbal cough suppressants are Marshmallow root, Icelandic moss, Mullein, Mallow leaves or Spitzwegerichkraut.
After a few days, this phase is followed by the "productive" cough. Large amounts of mucus are formed in the bronchi, which are ejected with coughing.
If the dry cough turns into a productive cough, so-called expectorants, ie expectorants should be taken. Cough suppressants are now counterproductive, as they suppress the cough and therefore the mucus can not be removed. However, if you can not sleep through at night, it actually makes sense to take a cough suppressant before bedtime.
This is how mucolytic agents work
The group of expectorants also has different principles of action:
- Mucolytics lower the viscosity of the mucus, it is better transported away (for example, bromhexine, ambroxol, N-acetylcysteine).
- Secretolytics stimulate the production of thin liquid mucus, the secretion is liquefied (for example, saponins, essential oils, potassium iodide, mucus, guaifenesin).
- Secretomotor motives stimulate the activity of the cilia (for example, essential oils).
Cousin removers based on plants are aniseed, ivy leaves, primrose root, calendula herb, thyme herb or liquorice root.
Measures for cough
Especially with coughing coughing, it is very important to drink enough liquid (at least 1.5 to 2 liters a day). Then the mucus can be sufficiently liquefied and thus better transported away.
In addition, factors that can damage the bronchial mucosa should be avoided. Which includes:
- cigarette smoke
- too dry air (overheated rooms)
- Irritants in the air
After about a week, the flow of mucus and thus the coughing stimulus should have returned to normal. If the symptoms of coughing have not improved despite medical treatment, or if the mucus turns yellow or green, a doctor should be consulted.