Remedies for cold and cough are quite effective in providing a proper cure.
They belong to different classes of drugs with mechanisms and actions quite similar.
They are aimed at either physiology, infections, or to produce a local effect.
Cold and cough are both different diseases in terms of pathology and the affect physiology.
Cough is a be a protective reflex of the nervous system in normal life. But on long-standing can indicate some health problem.
Similarly, sneezing is also a reflex symptom, but it tends to be severe and long-standing during flu.
Besides, during a cold, one suffers from a running nose, headache and even fever due to inflammation.
Further, there are different types of cough, while cold is of just one type.
Cold is associated with a cough, but the cough can be even without the cold.
Cough is caused by dust, obstruction to the respiratory system, allergy, infections, etc.
Viral infection and ongoing inflammation cause cold.
So drugs for cold and cough vary greatly.
Remedies for Cough and Cold
Without symptoms, one cannot understand why a particular remedy is used.
Common drugs or remedies for cold include
1. Nasal decongestants
2, Anti-inflammatory drugs
5. Counter irritants:
Nasal decongestants are given to minimize the nasal stuffiness. This enables free breathing.
These drugs act on the blood vessels to make them shrink and decrease the nasal mucosa swelling. Thereby the nostril canals are widened for free airflow. These drugs are given for local application within the nose as drops to prevent side effects. Ex: Oxymetazoline
Anti-inflammatory drugs: When a person is suffering from a cold, there is inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. This leads to profuse nasal secretion, coryza, etc. This inflammation is thought to be caused by the virus.
Further, due to inflammation, there is a high blood supply to the nasal mucous layer. This makes the mucosa swollen, leading to nose stuffy and difficult to breathe. Even there can be running nose and also allergy.
So drugs are given to minimize the inflammation, for ex: Cetirizine, a Histamine antagonist.
3. Mucolytics: Profuse mucous secretion in the respiratory tract forms phlegm. This phlegm can be viscous and difficult to expel by repeated efforts. So mucolytics are given for easy expulsion out of the tract. These drugs cut the structure of the phlegm, making it loose and less viscous. This makes it easy for the expulsion of phlegm.
4. Antibiotics: If there are some infections besides cold, antibiotics are given. If there is a bacterial infection, the ability to overcome the cold is tough. So antibiotics are given to restrict infection.
5. Counter irritant: These are essential oils like eucalyptus oil, menthol, etc. These are marketed as balms (aromatic balm) or gels in the market. When applied on the nose’s surface, throat, they provide relief from congestion and enhance free breathing.
These balms have volatile oils like menthol, which enhance the blood flow in the region. Thereby they bring in more warmth and clear of congestion where applied.
But Cold has no direct medicine to counter the causative virus. Just cold should subside by a week or so and hence remedies are given to cope with symptoms.
If you wish to try, you can try another natural anti-infective, namely septilin by Himalaya. It helps to recover fast from upper respiratory infections.
Remedies for cough:
Cough, in general, requires no medicine, but if it is of long-standing and troublesome to a normal lifestyle, then remedies are suggested. Drugs generally given are.
1. Anti-tussives (Codeine)
5. Soothing agents.
6. Counter irritants etc.
Cough is caused by irritation and is a dry cough, then codeine is prescribed. It is safe to use without side effects, but one should not get addicted to large doses. This suppresses the irritation or sensitivity in the throat and relieves cough.
If the cough is dry and seems to be caused by even a slight amount of allergy, it is considered inflammation-mediated. For this, steroids like betamethasone are prescribed. These are not recommended for regular and long term use.
If the cough is wet and seems to be coming from deep inside and expels phlegm now and then, it is thought to be an infection and antibiotics are prescribed. Eradication of microbe minimizes phlegm formation.
This type of cough can be rattling and be excoriating to the patient. Antibiotics remove any infection, reduce phlegm formation, inflammation and thereby decrease cough.
Ex: In the case of Tuberculosis and bronchitis.
If there is phlegm accumulation and the patient is unable to expel it and cough, then mucolytics are given. These break the structure of phlegm and loosen it so that it is easily expelled out.
Natural remedies for cough:
Cough is an irritant reflex, so it is easy to control the irritation.
1. Drinking warm water:
If the cough is due to an itchy throat or a burning (inflammatory) sensation, then drink warm water.
Warm water will soothe the throat and minimize the cough reflex.
2. Use salt: Use especially the pellet form of salt. It stays in the mouth for a long and releases salt, which helps counter the irritation in the throat. But if one has high blood pressure, this is not recommended.
3. Apply Counter irritants to the throat: This is an easy method. When one applies counter-irritant like zandu balm. As mentioned before, when applied locally on the throat, they enhance blood flow and soothe irritation. So the sense of tickling and irritant for cough are masked and so cough symptoms subside. This can last till the irritation drops.
4. Soothing agents or demulcents: These are remedies that soothe the irritated throat and relieve the cough. Ex: Glycerin, cold milk, etc. But in natural remedies, one can use elderberry syrup. These can be used even in children and older people as they are not harsh.
5. Pure water: Though the remedies for cold and cough are available, it is good to prevent cough and cold. This can be done by drinking pure and safe drinking water.
6. Protein supplements: Besides, one needs to have sufficient protein supplements to boost immunity.
The protein-rich foods increase WBC count and also antibody formation. This helps to keep the bacteria under control. Also, high protein content helps heal any inflamed tissue faster so that there is no irritant cough.
What to avoid to prevent cough:
- Avoid milk and other dairy products if you are allergic to them.
- Avoid going in highly air polluted areas.
- Cover your legs more than your upper half of the body. Keeping legs cold would enhance cough.
- Avoid smoking as smoke can trigger a cough.