Types of Cough
Children and adults succumb to coughs a couple of times a year. The characteristics of the cough may differ from bout to bout and, hence, medication will also vary. Basically, there are three types of coughs – dry, allergic and wet.
As the name suggests, this cough is dry, i.e., there is no phlegm when a person coughs. The throat feels itchy and scratchy due to the dryness. Due to excessive coughing, the throat pains and it is difficult to eat food. Fever may accompany the cough, but is not a necessary symptom. Sometimes, the cough is like a croup, which causes extreme dryness in the throat and continuous coughing.
The coughs continue for many minutes (maybe up to several hours as well). In this case, humidity levels need to be increased through a humidifier. However, croup can also occur in seasons when natural humidity is extremely high. At these times, the patient needs relief from humidity and it helps to be out in the fresh air for 15-20 minutes. If the coughing is prolonged, then medical advice needs to be taken.
An allergic cough is essentially a dry cough but is a reaction to a particular item that induces the coughing. Allergic coughs can be spurred on by food, pollen, pollution, etc. Amongst food items, allergic reactions can result from seafood, eggs, nuts, and even chocolate.
Pollen aggravates bronchial allergies in people and often children succumb to an allergic cough when they are outdoors in the evenings. Air pollution is detrimental to a person’s breathing system and causes irritation in the throat that induces coughing. An allergic cough subsides after some time but if the cough happens often, then some long term anti-allergic treatment may need to be taken.
A wet cough is one where there is white or yellow phlegm. Such coughs are usually the result of a bacterial or viral infection and need to be treated with appropriate medicines. If accompanied with fever, a round of antibiotics may be required to fight the infection.