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How to relieve a stubborn cough?

Hoarse, wheezy, high-pitched, or cavernous cough is a sign of respiratory disease. Although embarrassing, do not rush on the first syrup that comes along. Each cough is unique and needs to be relieved differently.

Coughing is a defensive reflex that has a certain utility. It clears the airways congested by an intruder (an allergen, a virus or a bacterium) projected outside at more than… 100 km/h. When the cough is very loud and does not bring up any phlegm, it is called a dry cough . This can be caused by a discharge of mucus in the back of the throat following an allergic sinusitis, rhinitis or laryngitis.

Conversely, when the cough is not very noisy but produces mucus, we speak of wet cough . Often linked to an infection, it can be accompanied by a burning sensation in the chest. These two distinct coughs do not control each other in the same way.

How to calm a dry cough?

To counteract a dry cough, you have to neutralize the inflammation that maintains the cough reflex. Antitussive tablets or syrups are welcome:they act on the cough-control nerve center located in the medulla oblongata.

But beware:these drugs contain codeine or opiate derivatives which cause drowsiness, sometimes dizziness, digestive disorders or nausea. They should not be used in case of respiratory failure or asthma-related coughing fits. Never more than 4 days in a row without medical advice.

Specialties based on pholcodine – a derivative of morphine – are no longer available over the counter. They can only be obtained on medical prescription because they are suspected of causing serious allergic reactions in the event of subsequent anesthesia. Cypress essential oil (EO) is a good alternative. "Two drops of cypress HE in a spoon of honey 3 times a day", according to pharmacist Danièle Festy, author of My bible of essential oils (Leducs Ed).

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How to calm a wet cough?

Unlike a dry cough, a wet cough - or productive cough - must not be upset. On the contrary:it is necessary to promote expectoration, that is to say the elimination of mucus. Otherwise, the secretions risk accumulating in the bronchi and lungs, and becoming superinfected.

Fluidify them with the help of expectorants which liquefy the mucus and thus facilitate the decluttering of the respiratory tree. Thyme infusions are also effective:pour a tablespoon of leaves into 250 ml of boiling water, then leave to macerate for 10 minutes. Filter before drinking, at least drink 3 times a day.

In the event of a prolonged severe cough (beyond 3 or 4 days) it is better to be examined by a doctor:it may be the sign of an underlying pathology (pulmonary edema, pneumonia, etc.). Also, see if the mucus looks purulent or if the cough is accompanied by blood or vomiting.

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