Treat your wet, chesty cough correctly

Coughing is an important reflex that can help remove harmful irritants that could make it harder to breath. When you’re ill, a cough can also move mucus and other secretions out of your body to help you clear your airways, breathe easier, and heal faster. 1

A wet cough, also known as a productive cough, is any cough that produces mucus (phlegm). Productive coughs often result from infections caused by bacteria or viruses, like those that cause a cold or flu. These infections cause your body to produce more mucus than usual.  It may also be caused by bronchitis, pneumonia or smoking. 1,2

When you have a wet cough, it may feel like you have something stuck in your chest or the back of your throat if you have a build-up of mucus. Sometimes a wet cough will bring mucus into your mouth. 1

Depending on the cause of your productive cough, other symptoms may include: 2

  • Breathlessness
  • Fever
  • Wheeze
  • Chest pain

If these symptoms persist or worsen, you will need to seek medical attention.

 Coughing may be worse at night because mucus collects at the back of your throat when you lie down, further triggering your cough reflex. 1  Coughing when you have a wet cough helps to clear the mucus and congestion from your lungs and should not be suppressed. Drink lots of water if you have a productive cough. 3,4

Two potential treatment options for a wet (productive) cough is:

  1. Mucolytics are medicines that thin mucus, making it less thick and sticky and easier to cough up. They are used to treat respiratory conditions characterised by excessive or thickened mucus, such as a chesty (productive) cough. 5
  2. Bronchodilators is a type of medication that makes breathing easier by relaxing the muscles in your lungs and widening the airways. It also reduces the amount of mucus secreted. 6, 7

Two in one to get the job done.

There is a cough syrup available that contains a mucolytic e.g. bromhexine and a bronchodilator e.g. salbutamol, making it easier to breath and cough at the same time. 8  Speak to your pharmacists or healthcare provider about the right combination to suit your type of cough.

DISCLAIMER:  This editorial has been commissioned and brought to you by iNova Pharmaceuticals. Content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

Name and business address of the holder of the certificate of registration: iNova Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Ltd,. Co. Reg. No. 1952/001640/07, 15e Riley Road, Bedfordview. Tel. No. 011 087 0000. www.inovapharma.co.za. For further information, speak to your healthcare professional. Further information is available on request from iNova Pharmaceuticals.IN3053/19

References:

  1. What Illnesses or Conditions Cause Wet Cough, and How Do I Treat It in Myself or My Child? [online] July 2018 [cited January 2018]; Available from URL: https://www.healthline.com/health/wet-cough
  2. Cough:productive or ‘wet’ cough. [online] May 2014 [cited January 2019]; Available from URL: https://www.mydr.com.au/respiratory-health/cough-productive-or-wet-cough
  3. Cleveland Clinic. Cough & Dry Coughs. [online] April 2017 [cited January 2019]; Available from URL: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16901-cough–dry-coughs?view=print
  4. How to treat a Cold and Cough. [online] August 2016 [cited January 2019]; Available from URL: http://www.healthpages.org/self-care/treat-cold-cough/#Cough
  5. Mycolytics. [online] [cited January 2019]; Available from URL: https://www.drugs.com/drug-class/mucolytics.html
  6. Overview Bronchodilators. [online] May 2016 [cited January 2019]; Available from URL: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bronchodilators/
  7. Hanson C. Cough Preparations: to give or not. Chronicles of Pharmaceutical Science 2017;1(5):262-267.
  8. Package insert on file.