Productive cough

What is productive cough?

Productive cough, also known as wet or chesty cough is characterised by the presence and production of mucus. During a productive cough, the airways widen to allow mucus and other irritants to move out of the lungs. Coughing is the body’s natural defence against foreign irritants or substances.

Causes of Productive Cough

Productive cough is usually caused by a respiratory infection such as the common cold, flu or pneumonia. Other factors that may be responsible for productive cough are Respiratory allergies or irritants, asthma, chronic bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, etc.

Symptoms of Productive Cough

  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Mucus production
  • Coughing up sputum
  • Fever

Diagnosis of Productive Cough

To diagnose a productive cough, a doctor may examine your throat, listen to your lungs through a stethoscope and take a chest X-ray. Other tests may include sputum culture, chest CT scan, bronchoscopy, etc. Blood tests may also be recommended.

Treatment of Productive Cough

The treatment of a productive cough depends on the underlying cause. If it is caused due to a respiratory infection like common cold, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the infection and reduce the duration of the cough. In case of allergies or asthma, anti-allergy medications may be prescribed. In some cases, bronchodilators may be used to widen the airways and make breathing easier.

Home remedies for productive cough

  • Gargling with warm salt water
  • Drinking hot fluids like lemon water or herbal teas
  • Eating Spicy foods like garlic or ginger
  • Using a humidifier to moisten the air.
  • Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar diluted in water
  • Take a steamy shower or hold your head over a bowl of hot, steaming water.