Dry cough is an unconditioned reflex that performs the function of cleansing the airways of various irritants – sputum, mucus, pus, foreign bodies, thereby helping to clear the bronchial tree and trachea.
Usually, a dry cough appears at the beginning of any infectious, viral disease, cold. Depending on the pathogen and the immune response, its intensity can vary from insignificant to debilitating, paroxysmal, increasing during sleep.
How to treat dry cough in children and adults, what drugs and folk remedies can be used to facilitate it and speed up the transfer to a wet one? This is our article.
Causes of dry cough in children and adults
Before starting treatment for dry cough, it is necessary to establish the reason that caused its appearance. If this is a common cold or flu, then with bed rest, plenty of drinking, symptomatic therapy after a few days dry cough becomes productive with light sputum – this is a good sign indicating that a person is recovering.
A dry cough is a reason to go to the therapist, as there may be a number of diseases behind it. Moreover, if a dry cough does not pass 10 or more days – this is a serious reason to go to the therapist or pediatrician.
The doctor, on the basis of the examination, the patient’s history, may refer to the following tests and diagnostics:
- General blood analysis
- Fluorography for suspected pneumonia or if not done in the last 2 years
- According to indications – X-ray in 2 projections (suspected cancer, tuberculosis, sarcoidosis)
- Sputum culture with changes in fluorography or radiography and for decreed groups.
- With purulent sputum and the availability of capacity in the laboratory – sputum culture to identify the pathogen and sensitivity to antibiotics (in clinics are not done).
- If bronchial asthma is suspected – spirography with samples (for berotok, cold).
- If necessary, referral to an allergist for scratching allergy tests and examining an ENT with smears from the pharynx and pharynx for eosinophilia.
- When X-ray diagnosis of tumors – bronchoscopy, MRI or CT scan according to indications.
- For foreign bodies – ENT examination, bronchoscopy
- If you suspect whooping cough – blood tests for immunoglobulins or PCR mucus from the pharynx.
The main causes of dry cough in children and adults:
- SARS, flu, cold (how does the flu differ from SARS)
- Bronchial asthma, COPD, irritation of the respiratory tract from chemicals – bronchospasm, allergic cough
- Runny nose, sinusitis, sinusitis, adenoids, chronic allergic rhinitis
- Children’s infectious diseases – diphtheria, false croup (barking cough in a child) and those that occur in adults – whooping cough, measles.
- Pleurisy, pneumonia, acute or chronic bronchitis, tracheitis, tracheobronchitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis (treatment in children).
- Oncological diseases of the respiratory system – lung cancer, bronchial cancer, throat cancer, laryngeal cancer, etc.
- Congestive heart failure, aortic aneurysm
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
- Smoker’s cough
- A foreign body in the respiratory organs – most often happens and causes a dry cough in children.
How to treat dry cough in children and adults
If a dry cough is not caused by catarrhal and viral illnesses, then tuberculosis, cancer, heart or allergic etiology of coughing should be excluded. After a thorough diagnosis, on the basis of the established diagnosis, appropriate treatment is prescribed. And we will consider treatment options for unproductive cough with the most common variants of its occurrence – for colds, viral, infectious diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract.
Dry cough medicine
- Preparations of central action, suppressing cough: Butamirate (synode), Glauvent (children from 4 years).
- Combined medications: Codeterpin, Codelac (from 2 years old) additionally improve sputum discharge, dilute Stoptussin sputum (children older than one month), Glycodine (from 12 months), with antipyretic effect – Grippostad (from 6 years).
- Peripheral cough suppressant effect: Levopront (from 2 years old), Libeksin (from 3 years old).
Ample warm drink with dry cough is a guarantee of quick recovery.
Plentiful warm drink is a banal phrase, everyone knows about it, but sometimes they do not attach particular importance to this important component of treatment. But the speed of the transition of dry cough to wet with sputum for various colds and viral diseases depends on how much liquid the patient drinks. You can drink the following fortified drinks:
- Cranberry juice, currant jelly, raspberries
- Broths of medicinal herbs, in the absence of allergy to them – this is decoction of plantain, mother and stepmothers, licorice, sage, rosehip
- Hot tea with lemon, honey, raspberries
- It is useful to drink warm goat’s milk, while melting a piece of butter in it or adding almond oil, honey (but only to those who do not suffer from pancreatitis). It is very good to drink such a drink at night.
- Black radish juice with honey
- Warm mineral alkaline water without gases
- Infusions of licorice root
Dry cough inhalation
Inhalation – this is also a very effective way to alleviate dry cough. For the implementation of inhalation, you can use special devices – nebulizers, inhalers, and you can also carry them out in an old-fashioned way – breathing over the steam, covered with a towel, you can also use the spout of the kettle, and inhale the vapors through the paper cone. Solutions for inhalation can be a variety of:
Medicinal products Lasolvan, Ambrobene, ACC injection, Fluimucil, Sinupret, Rotokan, Tolsilgon N, calendula extract.
Rubbing, massage, compresses for the treatment of unproductive cough in children
Rubbing, massage, compresses – any warming procedures can be performed only if the patient does not have a high body temperature. Especially carefully it is necessary to treat such agents in the treatment of dry cough in children.
If a child’s dry cough is allergic or caused by whooping cough or false croup, in these cases the use of various strongly smelling or allergenic means may worsen the condition, especially ointment causes the allergy – Dr. Mom, which includes – camphor, menthol, eucalyptus, nutmeg, turpentine oil, thymol. The ointments that have a warming effect include Dr. Mom, Barsuchok, Pulmeks, Eukabal – many pediatricians do not recommend using these ointments to children under 2 years old, and if they are prone to allergies, do not use them at all.
As for the massage, it can also be performed only at a low body temperature, in the absence of even suspicion of complications from irrigation or flu. Best of all, it helps with bronchitis, since massage is designed to improve the discharge of sputum, but it can also be produced while relieving the condition with an unproductive cough in children and adults. Drainage massage should be done very carefully, after a warm bath. After the massage, the child should lie down for about half an hour, while he should be covered with a warm blanket, and a compress can be done at night.
For a compress, you can make such a solution – 1 tbsp. Spoon of sunflower oil, 1 tbsp. spoon of vodka, 1 tbsp. spoon of honey – this mixture should be heated in a water bath. Soak a linen cloth in this solution in such a way as to cover the neck and the interscapular zone, put cotton wool on top of the cloth, then cellophane. To the back of the baby should wrap the compress with a scarf or kerchief. It should be borne in mind that the child will have to sleep all night, the nodules should be made small and placed on the side. Every day, such a compress is not worth doing, it is better every other day.
In the room in which the child sleeps with a compress should be cool air. Alcohol should be used very carefully for compresses, it should not be used in large quantities, because the skin in children under 7 years old partially performs the function of respiration, and an overdose can result in alcohol poisoning of the baby. The same applies to the use of vinegar to remove the temperature – this is the old popular method of reducing the temperature in a child often leads to poisoning, you should not use it.
Medicinal plants to help
The use of medicinal plants – in pharmacies, you can buy ready-made chest charges, which can be consumed inside and inhalation. Among medicinal plants, the following herbs have significant expectorant and mucolytic properties: oregano, Althea root, sage, mother and stepmother’s leaf, anise fruits, licorice root, pine buds.