see also Cough, Whooping Cough
Coughing expels foreign bodies and irritating mucus from the trachea and airways of the lungs. The membranes lining the whole respiratory tract are extremely sensitive and react to all kinds of inhaled particles by producing mucus, which is then coughed up, the colour of the sputum or phlegm being an indication of the nature or degree of irritation or infection. Catarrh from the nose or sinuses can also drip on to the vocal cords, causing coughing.
Coughing is one of the signs of Whooping Cough (violent bouts of coughing with whooping noise, sometimes vomiting), Measles (in the early stage), Asthma (difficult breathing, flaring of nostrils or sucking in of lower ribs in effort to breathe, blueness around lips), Croup and Stridor (crowing intakes of breath), inhaling a foreign body, Bronchiolitis, acute Pneumonia and Bronchitis (difficulty breathing, temperature above 39º C [102°F]), Influenza and other viral infections, Tracheitis, and Sinusitis. Cigarette smoke may also be the culprit.
If cough lasts for more than 10 days or is accompanied by Fever, or if you suspect the early stages of measles, consult your doctor if there in no improvement in 12 hours. If coughing is associated with difficulty breathing, blue tongue or lips, unusual drowsiness, fast breathing (over 40 breaths per minute), or difficulty speaking, consult your doctor if there in no improvement in 2 hours. Do not use cough suppressants, especially if you do not know the cause of the cough. Recurrent coughs require constitutional treatment.
Specific remedies to be taken every 4 hours up to 10 doses in acute attack
- Dry, irritating cough, sudden onset Aconite 30c
- Bouts of dry, tickly coughing which may end in a whoop or sneeze, bursting, congested feeling in head, Adam's apple tender Belladonna 30c
- Hard, dry cough which causes child to hold chest or head, child thirsty for cold drinks but more soothed by hot ones Bryonia 30c
- Breathlessness, wheezing, chest feels weighed down, child blue and rigid during coughing bouts, persistent nausea, clean tongue Ipecac. 30c
- Violent, tickly cough from chest with retching and gagging, and pain below ribs, worse at night and out of doors Drosera 30c
- Barking, croaky cough, with hoarseness, alleviated by eating and drinking and lying with head low, child chokes and panics on waking Spongia 30c
- Croaky cough, temperature higher than normal, worse in cold, dry weather and aggravated by draughts, child chilly, irritable, craves hot drinks Hepar sulph. 30c
- Racking, tickly cough from larynx, aggravated by talking, by changes in temperature, and by lying down, child craves cold drinks but vomits as soon as fluid becomes warm in stomach Phosphorus 30c
- Dry, irritating cough with wheezing, worse at night, perhaps brought on by anger, child very irritable Chamomilla 30c
- Cough with stringy phlegm Kali bichrom. 30c
- Dry cough with retching, child feverish, chilly, worse for exposure to cold, oversensitive and very irritable Nux 30c
- Cough dry at night, moist in morning, with yellow or greenish phlegm, child tearful, miserable, not thirsty, more poorly in warm, stuffy rooms Pulsatilla 30c
- Dry, tickly cough at back of throat, made worse by talking and by cold air, and worse at night, preventing sleep, child feels better with head under blankets Rumex 30c
- Cough worse around midnight, with wheezing, child cold, restless, anxious, worn out, thirsty, finds sipping hot drinks soothing Arsenicum 30c
- Rattling cough from chest, which sounds full of phlegm, child too weak to clear phlegm, very pale, blue around lips, feels he or she must sit up or suffocate contact Emergency Medical Services as child may require hospitalization, and in meantime Antimonium tart. 30c
- Dry cough, raw throat, hoarseness, no phlegm, child finds cold drinks soothing, may pass urine involuntarily Causticum 30c
- Sweetish-tasting phlegm and sore throat during day, dry, violent cough during evening, child breathless, hardly able to talk, symptoms made worse by talking or laughing Stannum 30c
- Dry, hacking cough at night, made worse by bringing up phlegm Sticta 30c
- Dry, hard cough, with lumpy sputum and wheezing, worse between 3 and 5 am, child feels weak and chilly Kali carb. 30c
Self-help: Avoid dry atmosphere in home, turn down central heating, and humidify child's room. If there is a smoker in the house, meticulously remove all traces of cigarette ash. Hot lemon and honey drinks will soothe a raw throat.