Smoker’s cough is one that lasts for some time after a prolonged period of smoking and tends to sound different than a regular cough. It involves crackling noises and wheezing linked with the phlegm in the throat. The cough also tends to be productive.
Smoker’s cough might become chronic if the individual smokes daily. It can result to discomfort in the lungs and throat.
What is the cause?
The cilia are miniature hair-like structures lining the airways. If an individual smoke, the cilia lose their ability to drive chemicals and other foreign materials out of the lungs. Due to this, the toxins linger in the lungs longer than usual. As a response, the body coughs more to eliminate the chemicals from the lungs.
The cough might be troublesome in the morning. The reason for this is that the cilia regain their capability to eliminate the chemicals from the lungs after not being able to smoke for a few hours. This causes the cough to be unpleasant upon waking up.
In some cases, postnasal drip might also be present. It results to frequent coughing or clearing of the throat that can cause the worsening of the cough.
Management of smoker’s cough
Various treatment options are available for smoker’s cough.
The ideal way to treat smoker’s cough is to reduce the time spent on smoking or cessation of smoking. Remember that quitting eliminates the cause of the cough.
Other treatment options include:
- Cough drops, lozenges or a salt water gargle can soothe the throat
- Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day to thin out the mucus in the lungs
- Raise the head while sleeping to prevent the mucus from building up in the throat
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day regularly to loosen up the mucus and makes it easier to expel the phlegm
- Avoid alcohol or coffee to reduce the seriousness of the cough.
Some of the commonly used drug for the conditions linked to smoker’s cough include corticosteroids and bronchodilators.
A bronchodilator allows the muscles around the airways to relax. It is usually used as an inhaler. As for corticosteroids, they lessen the inflammation in the airways and used along with bronchodilators.