What Is A Productive Cough
A productive cough is one that expels a sticky, slimy substance called mucus out of the body. It’s usually accompanied by an expectorated sound. People with chronic bronchitis are prone to coughing up thick mucus because their airways are blocked and their breathing passages aren’t open enough for the mucus to drain through them. They’re also more likely to develop infections in the mucus-filled airways.
Coughing can clear mucus from the mouth, nose, ears, eyes, stomach, intestines, bladder and other places. When you cough, your vocal folds at the bottom of your windpipe fold backward and create a space between them where the mucus can accumulate. Then it moves upward toward the top of the trachea (windpipe) on its own. In most people, this happens so quickly that they don’t even notice it. Other times, though, the mucus takes longer to work its way out of the narrow passage. If the cough isn’t productive, it doesn’t expel any mucus; instead, it just pushes the stuff around inside your head. But if your cough is productive, you’ll see it accumulating at the end of the windpipe. You might also hear some sounds as well, such as a rattling noise when you exhale. These noises mean that the mucus has been expelled from the body.
As we mentioned, coughing can occur anywhere within the respiratory system. For example, a person who suffers from asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, or upper airway obstruction may experience a productive cough. This type of cough occurs when the patient inhales sharply and forcefully tries to get rid of excess fluid in his/her lungs. And sometimes patients will cough up mucus without making much effort.
The word “productive” comes from the Latin procreare meaning “to produce.” So a productive cough means that mucus was produced during the coughing episode. Some researchers say that coughing itself isn’t necessarily productive — it could simply be reflex behavior. However, others believe that the act of producing mucus is a sign of health, especially since the secretion contains white blood cells that protect us against infection. There are two types of cough: dry cough and wet cough. Dry cough refers to the absence of sputum. On the other hand, a wet cough means there’s visible mucus present.
So what causes a productive cough? Read about the different conditions on the next page.
Causes Of A Productive Cough
There are several possible reasons why someone coughs productively. For instance, he or she might suffer from acute bronchial inflammation due to allergies, irritation caused by smoking cigarettes or exposure to environmental irritants, such as dust or chemicals. Or perhaps the reason is something serious like heart failure, tuberculosis, or leukemia.
Acute bronchial inflammation is often triggered by viral illnesses, such as influenza, cold viruses, or adenoviruses. Viral infections cause inflammation of the tissues in the lining of the bronchi, which leads to excessive mucus production and blockage of airflow. Sometimes, these viruses spread to the lower parts of the respiratory tract and cause secondary bacterial infections, such as those created by bacteria known as Haemophilus influenzae (H. influenzae), Moraxella catarrhalis, or Streptococcus pneumoniae. Bacterial infections can also lead to additional mucus production and severe chest congestion.
People with heart failure may cough productively because of fluid buildups in the lungs. Fluid buildup in the lungs makes it difficult for them to breathe deeply, which results in shortness of breath and difficulty expelling mucus. Excess fluids can also form in the lungs’ alveoli, which trap oxygen molecules and make it hard for the bloodstream to deliver nutrients to all areas of the body.
Tuberculosis can affect many organs throughout the body, including the lungs. One symptom associated with TB is coughing up mucus, which is called a tuberculous cough. Tuberculosis primarily infects the lungs, but it may also attack other tissues throughout the body, including the brain, spine, liver, kidneys, and glands. TB commonly attacks the lungs, causing scar tissue formation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes, which obstructs airflow.
Leukemia affects the bone marrow, which makes red cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body. Red cell production is reduced or impaired in leukemic individuals, resulting in low levels of oxygen in vital organs, particularly the lungs. Leukemic individuals may also experience high fever, weight loss, fatigue, and extreme weakness. Their condition worsens over time and eventually becomes fatal. In addition, some leukemic individuals have problems with their immune systems, which allows certain infectious organisms to thrive and grow. As a result, they may become ill with frequent bouts of coughing, which helps them fight off infection.
On the next page, find out how to relieve the symptoms of a productive cough.
How To Relieve Symptoms Of A Productive Cough
If you’ve ever had a productive cough, then you know how uncomfortable it can be. While there are several ways to treat a productive cough, there is no cure for it. Because of this, doctors advise patients to avoid getting another productive cough until the current one passes completely. That said, here are some tips you can use to help alleviate the discomfort of a productive cough.
Drinking plenty of fluids is important. Drink 8 ounces of water every hour to keep yourself hydrated. Drinking lots of liquids can reduce the amount of fluid in the lungs and prevent further accumulation of secretions. Also, drinking noncaffeinated beverages can help decrease the amount of mucus in your lungs. Avoid alcohol consumption altogether, as it dehydrates your body and depletes bodily fluids.
Exercising regularly can improve your overall health and provide relief from stress and anxiety. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, which promote better sleep quality and increase your energy level. It also strengthens your muscles and increases muscle tone, helping you maintain good posture and feel less fatigued.
Maintaining proper nutrition is essential for healthy living. Eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals is important for your general health. Vitamin C, E, beta-carotene, and zinc can strengthen your immunity against common airborne diseases. Consume foods containing calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, sodium, and zinc, as they aid in building strong bones. Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, which promotes regularity and helps control appetite. Foods containing monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants are beneficial for cardiovascular function, digestion, and reducing arthritis pain. By eating right, you can boost your immune defenses and fight off illness.
Avoid cigarette smoke and secondhand smoke. Smoking interferes with oxygen flow and prevents deep breaths, which can aggravate symptoms. Secondhand smoke is also dangerous because it contains toxins that harm your lungs, heart, and central nervous system.
While coughing may seem like a natural thing to do, it can actually be quite harmful to our bodies. Therefore, take extra care to manage your cough effectively to ensure that it doesn’t hinder your ability to live a full life.
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