Remedies for cold and cough are quite effective to provide proper cure.
They belong to different class of drugs with mechanism and action quite similar.
The are aimed at either physiology, infections or to produce local effect.
Cold and cough are both different diseases in terms of pathology, and the effect 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 during flu it tends to be severe and long standing.
Besides during cold one suffer from running nose, head ache and even fever due to inflammation.
Further there are different types of cough while cold is of just one type.
Cold is associated with cough but cough can be even without cold.
Cough is caused by dust, obstruction to respiratory system, allergy, infections etc.
Cold is caused by viral infection and ongoing inflammation.
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 enable for free breathing.
These drugs act on the blood vessels to make them shrink and decrease the nasal mucosa swelling. There by the nostril canals are widened for free air flow. These drugs are given for local application within the nose as drops to prevent side effect. Ex: Oxymetazoline
Anti-inflammatory drugs: When a person is suffering from cold, it means there is inflammation of upper respiratory tract. This leads to profuse nasal secretion, coriza etc. This inflammation is thought to be caused by virus.
Further due to inflammation there is high blood supply to nasal mucous layer making the nose stuffy and difficult to breath. Even there can 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 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 make it easy for expulsion of phlegm.
4. Antibiotics: If there are some infections besides cold, antibiotics are given. If there is bacterial infection, the ability to overcome cold is tough. So antibiotics are given to the restrict infection.
5. Counter irritant: These are essential oils like eucalyptus oil, menthol etc. These are marketed as balms (zandu balm) or gels in the market. When applied on the surface of nose, throat, they provide relief from congestion and enhance free breathe.
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 up with symptoms.
Remedies for cough:
Cough in general requires no medicine but if it is of long standing and trouble some to normal life style then remedies are suggested. Drugs generally given are.
1. Anti-tussives (Codeine)
5. Soothing agents.
6. Counter irritants etc.
Cough if caused by irritation and is 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 from cough.
If cough is dry and seems to be caused by even slight amount of allergy, then it is considered to be inflammation mediated and steroids like betamethasone are prescribed. These are not recommended for regular and long term use.
If 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 rattling and excoriating to the patient. Antibiotics remove any infection, reduce phlegm formation, inflammation and there by decrease cough.
Ex: In case of Tuberculosis and bronchitis.
If there is phlegm accumulation and patient is unable to expel it and cough then mucloytics are given. These break the structure of phlegm and loosen it so that it is easily expelled out.
Natural remedies for cough:
Cough is a irritant reflex, so it is easy to control the irritation.
1. Drinking warm water: If cough is due to itchy thorat or there is burning (inflammatory) feel then drink warm water. Warm water will sooth the throat and minimize cough reflex.
2. Use salt: Use especially the pellet form of salt. It stays in the mouth for long and release salt which helps counter the irritation in throat. But if one is having high blood pressure, this is not recommended.
3. Apply Counter irritants to 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 sooth 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 which sooth the irritated throat and relive the cough. Ex: Glycerin, cold milk etc. But in natural remedies one can use Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa. These can be used even in children and old 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 need to have sufficient protein supplement 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 allergenic to them.
- Avoid going in highly air polluted areas.
- Cover your legs more than you upper half of the body. Keeping legs cold would enhance cough.
- Avoid smoking as smoke can trigger cough.