Are you suffering from a dry cough that just refuses to go away and forces you to wake up from sleep? If you have the habit of smoking, you may be suffering from smokers cough. Read on to know all about this condition.
Smokers Cough Definition
What is a Smokers Cough? It is actually a kind of cough that smokers suffer from. People who have the habit of smoking are generally seen to have this condition. The condition may be mild or severe depending on the amount of smoking that the person does. The syndrome usually appears in people who have been smoking for a long time.
The cough is mainly of two kinds. Smokers may either suffer from a dry cough or a chesty cough. A chesty cough, unlike a dry cough, is accompanied by mucus.
How long does Smokers Cough last?
Smokers Cough, especially of the chesty variety, lasts for several weeks. Common cough, caused by cold or flu, usually disappears within 2 weeks. People suffering from chesty cough for more than this period should consult a doctor. Patients of chronic coughing are seen to break their ribs in extreme conditions.
Smokers Cough Symptoms
People affected by Smokers’ Cough display a number of symptoms. These are :
Long time smokers are found to cough constantly because of this condition. The coughing may stop for a brief period only to resume again after some minutes.
As aforesaid, smokers may experience a dry or a chesty cough. Dry cough or non-productive cough does not produce any phlegm or fluids. A chronic dry cough is one of the early symptoms of Smokers Cough syndrome.
Also known as productive cough, this is characterized by the presence of mucus in cough. The individual coughs up large volumes of phlegm from the lungs. In case of Smokers Cough phlegm may be clear, white, green or yellow in color. Greenish-yellow colored mucus may be a sign of lung infection caused by long-term smoking.
In extreme cases of Smokers Cough blood is also visible. This occurs in case of a bacterial disease.
Shortness of Breath (SOB)
Smokers Cough is also accompanied with breathlessness in patients.
Smokers Cough causes chest pain in many sufferers. Persistent coughing gives rise to pain in the chest and rib cages.
In some cases, a whistling sound appears as the affected person breathes.
A cracking or bubbling sound can also be heard in some patients affected by this syndrome.
When smokers cough is accompanied with severe diseases like Chronic Bronchitis, many other symptoms like fatigue, pallor, confusion or anxiety may occur.
Smokers Cough in the Morning
Most patients display Smokers Cough in the morning. This is because such people wake up with a substantial amount of phlegm in their throat. They need to clear their throat to clear away the irritation caused by the accumulated Smokers Cough mucus. In advanced cases, smokers have to cough for a long time after waking up to remove phlegm from their throat.
What causes Smokers Cough?
Why do Smokers Cough? As the name suggests, Smokers Cough is caused mainly by smoking or tobacco inhalation. When a person smokes for a considerable period of time, the irritants from the nicotine accumulates in the trachea, heart and lungs. It damages the cilia, tiny fibers found in the nose and trachea. The cilia guard the body from airborne germs. Damage to the cilia impairs them or even makes them non-functional. This makes the lungs more susceptible to germs like bacteria and viruses. The natural body system creates phlegm to block out these harmful germs.
When a smoker sleeps, the mucus gets accumulated in the airways. This forces him to wake up from sleep and clear away the phlegm to breathe freely. Under normal conditions, the cilia moves in a wavelike manner and moves the foreign bodies trapped in mucus upwards to the Oropharynx. This helps one swallow the phlegm.
Constant cigarette smoking impairs the function of the cilia. This is the reason why a smoker has to cough to remove the phlegm.
Over time, smokers experience a more persistent cough. This happens due to phlegm accumulation which occurs with a change in weather conditions or when the body is exposed to a cold environment.
Smokers Cough Diagnosis
If a person suffers from constant cough for more than two weeks, diagnosis should be carried out. The diagnosis of Smokers Cough condition is usually done with a chest X-Ray. Sample of the phlegm of the suffering person is also analyzed by doctors to find out if the person is suffering from smokers cough or any other respiratory disease like Pneumonia.
Smokers Cough Treatment
Picture 1 – Risk factors of Smoking
Source – consumerreports
How to get rid of Smokers Cough? Smoker Cough Remedy is generally carried out with antibiotics. Cough medicines, consisting of ingredients like sugar, honey and syrup, are commonly used to treat minor cough conditions. In patients with Smokers Cough syrup forms a coat over the interior of the throat and gives relief from irritation. It is used as a common Smokers Cough cure, though it is effective mainly for mild symptoms.
Antihistamine is usually the Smokers Cough medicine used for curing dry cough conditions. Such drugs affect the brain to suppress the nerve signal that prompts coughing. These medicines, however, give rise to side effects like drowsiness.
The best of Smokers Cough remedies include quitting smoking. Giving up smoking is very hard, but unless you stop tobacco intake or at least cut it down severely chances of permanent recovery from Smokers Cough are very low. Smoking cessation can help the cilia in the airways recover their functionality. It also helps the respiratory system recover fully. Chances of recovery from smokers cough after quitting smoking is usually very high.
Patients who find their Smokers Cough getting worse should immediately get professional medical treatment. In some cases, Smokers Cough may be an indication of respiratory tract cancers. It may also signal decreased resistance to bacterial or viral infections due to any low-immunity condition. Early medical treatment is necessary to cure such conditions.
Smokers Cough Home Remedies
You can try several Smokers Cough remedies at home to cure the condition at the earliest. These include
Drink Anise Seed Mixture
Boil a cup of water containing one tablespoon-full of anise seeds. Let the mixture sit under cover for 10-15 minutes. Strain the mixture into a glass and sweeten it with honey. Blend the mixture properly and drink it while still warm. Do this for several times throughout the day.
Drink lots of water throughout the day. Water lubricates the throat and makes coughing less painful for the sufferer. Cigarette smoking also dries the body. Water keeps the body hydrated.
Drink Honeyed Tea
Mix a little honey with hot tea. Drink this to soothe the throat and get a little relief from soreness due to coughing.
Boil a pot of water containing mint leaves and Eucalyptus. Inhale the vapors arising from this. The aromatic vapors help stop the cough. It works as one of the best natural Smoker Cough treatments.
Does Smokers Cough go away?
Yes. If treatment is carried out properly and on time, the condition can be completely cured. The rate of recovery is also fast. Recovery happens rapidly if the affected person can manage to kick the butt. Stopping smoking can make treatment more effective and bring back the capability of cilia.
If you are waking up with smokers Cough at night, you should immediately consult a physician. Never neglect a smoker’s cough, for it may be an indication of complicated conditions. Early treatment will help you recover in no time and enjoy good health as long as possible.
Written by anirudh
on December 27th, 2010. The article was last updated on December 27th, 2010