Coughing is a response that occurs when the body detects an irritating material in the lungs or airways. Two or three coughs are normal depending on the situation, but a coughing fit indicates a more significant underlying condition. In this article, you will learn how to stop a coughing fit including what causes a coughing fit, when you should visit a doctor, and how to prevent it.
Many factors can cause a cough, most of which are not a cause for alarm. For instance, a coughing fit might appear abruptly and a lingering cough remains for a few weeks (acute cough), or it can last more than eight weeks (chronic cough). Some coughing fits, also known as paroxysmal coughing, are intense and frequent, making breathing difficult.
Causes of a coughing fit
A coughing fit can point to one of the many possible diseases caused by viruses or bacteria. Some of the causes of a coughing fit include:
- Obstructed airway
- Common colds (viral respiratory infection)
- Croup (a viral illness that is common in young children)
- Influenza (a virus that causes illness)
- Tuberculosis, a bacterial illness of the lungs that can spread to other organs if left untreated
- Whooping cough (pertussis)
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a disorder in which acid from your stomach travels up your esophagus, into your throat, and occasionally into your lungs
Coughing fits may indicate a serious or life-threatening condition, with the few notable ones being:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Chronic Variant Asthma
- Bronchitis (acute)
- congestive heart failure,
- pulmonary edema
- lung cancer
When to see a doctor
Seek medical help right away if your cough is undetected, persistent, recurrent, or causes you concern.
Always seek immediate medical attention if you encounter the symptoms listed below. Depending on the ferocity of the coughing fit, the following can be triggered;
- Light-headedness/loss of consciousness
- Muscle soreness
- Trouble breathing or speaking
- Chest pain
- A racing heart and/or grunting noises with each breath
- Coughing up a lot of bloody phlegm
- Chills with a high temperature
- Coughing fits can get so intense that you vomit and your lips turn blue from a lack of oxygen in severe cases
Also, seek medical help if you have an existing respiratory condition and your coughing fits have worsened. Once your doctor has determined the cause, they will give treatment as appropriate.
How to stop a coughing fit – Medical Treatments and Home Remedies
Depending on the reason, intensity, and duration of your coughing fits symptoms, your doctor may give the following, as appropriate:
- Antibiotics – to aid your immune system in fighting infectious bacteria.
- Antihistamines – to alleviate allergy symptoms that can aggravate coughing, such as congestion,
- Decongestants – to reduce mucus buildup, coughing, and other symptoms
- Antacids for GERD symptoms
- Breathing exercises as directed by your respiratory therapist for illnesses like bronchitis
- And less typically, oxygen therapy
Additionally, you can try the following treatments at home, as listed below, to help with the symptoms:
- If you have a bacterial infection, isolate yourself.
- Consume enough water: This will keep your mucus thin and easy to clear hence minimizing coughing.
- Over-the-counter drugs: You can buy non-prescription medications to help clear mucus (expectorants) and control the cough reflex (antitussives). These are especially beneficial for providing relief at night.
- Honey: A teaspoon of honey can help relax a cough and relieve aggravation. Add raw honey to your tea or take it by itself. It’s a natural cough suppressant that could aid a coughing child’s sleep, but don’t give honey to children under the age of one year.
- A humidifier gives moisture to the air, but it must only use sterile water to avoid recirculating bacteria.
- Avoid irritants. Close the windows and keep pets out of your bedroom to create a haven. Another option is to use an air purifier.
- Quit smoking: Smoking is a severe irritant and destroyer of the lower respiratory tract; after quitting, breathing will improve.
- Avoid using perfumes or air fresheners with strong scents.
- In case you vomit, eat smaller portions of food.
- Take a hot shower
- Keep your hands clean and wash them frequently.
How to stop a coughing fit at night
A backlog of fluid from the heart into the lungs, known as paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea, is a common cause of uncontrollable coughing fits at night. When a heart can’t pump enough blood, fluid builds up in the lungs, making breathing difficult and coughing more often.
- To avoid phlegm from accumulating in your throat, prop up your pillows so that your body is more upright while sleeping.
- Before going to bed, take a menthol cough drop or a hard candy to assist in lubricating your throat.
- Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. Keep a glass of water near your bed.
What can you do to avoid a coughing fit?
- The best technique to avoid a coughing fit is to identify and treat the underlying cause of the cough.
- Antihistamines are another treatment option for allergy sufferers. These medications work by suppressing the immune system’s response to allergens in the environment, reducing coughing fits.
- Those who have coughing fits due to particular allergens or irritants should strive to restrict their exposure to them.
- To minimize the frequency and intensity of coughing fits, those with chronic respiratory diseases will need medical therapy.
- You can avoid coughing episodes by quitting smoking.