When irritants get into the body, there are several ways the body reacts in order to try and remove them. Irritants of the respiratory system, such as smoke and dust, are expelled by coughing. When your body is producing more mucus than usual, it will come up when you cough – this is known as a wet cough. A dry cough, from allergies or a tickly throat, is when no mucus comes up. Below are seven pointers to note about wet coughs:
A wet cough is perfectly natural
The body has several self-protecting mechanisms that are essential for humans to stay healthy; a wet cough is one of them. By getting the excess mucus out of your system, the body can clear the airways and expel the irritants – which could be infectious organisms.
Try and get it all out
A lot of the time, the initial urge is to suppress a cough, especially if you are at work or out in public. It is important not to; mucus remaining in the airway can affect one’s breathing and the normal passage of air. Also, whichever organism might be causing the cough is now staying in your airways, which gives it a chance to multiply even further! Try and stay away from cough-suppressing medicine, as it doesn’t give your body a chance to get invading organisms out.
Let it run its course, naturally
Although a wet cough can be discomforting, it is always better to allow the cough to run its course instead of over-doing the medication. Wet coughs normally clear in a few days, and your airways will be as good as new. One thinks that other drugs, such as antibiotics, might help the cough. Most of the time, not only will it be completely unhelpful but using these drugs unnecessarily also contributes to the ongoing issue of antibiotic resistance.
Take a break from a busy life
Research has often shown that rest helps in clearing the airways when a person has a wet cough. A break from one’s typical hectic schedule will give your body assistance in clearing the airways and shorten the duration of a wet cough episode.
It’s often good advice when you are sick to up your daily fluid intake. Drinking more water or healthy liquids will assist the process of clearing your chest, as it will make the mucus thinner and therefore easier to get out of your system.
The curse of the common cold
The most common cause of wet coughs are due to cold-causing viruses. During this time, the cough will normally be accompanied by a runny nose, and postnasal drip (where you can feel the mucus running down the back of your throat). Did you know that 200 viruses could be responsible for your cold? The most common is rhinovirus, and even that has over 100 different types! Don’t forget that if your cough is from a cold (a virus, not bacteria), then antibiotics are not the solution.
As anyone who has had a bad bout of phlegmy coughing will know, another name for a wet cough is a ‘chesty’ cough. During this time, one may feel congested, have an unpleasantly tight feeling chest, and sound a little wheezy.
Although a wet cough typically runs its course within a few days, it is essential to know what the best course of action is to get you back on your feet as quickly as possible.
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