Doctors classify chesty coughs as ‘productive coughs’, as the act of coughing produces (or brings up) mucus from the chest.
A chesty cough is most often the result of infection by cold and flu viruses and bacteria.
Other reasons for chesty coughs include:
- Smoking – prolonged irritation of the lungs by cigarette smoke leads to a change in cell structure in the respiratory tract and the excessive production of mucus.
- Other reasons for chesty coughs may include other lung infections or medical conditions for which you need to seek medical advice.
Chesty Cough Relief
To relieve a chesty cough, the main focus is to break down and loosen congestion in the lungs, making it easier to cough up excess mucus.
A mucolytic will help break down and liquefy the mucus so it is easier to expel. An example mucolytic is Bromhexine hydrochloride.
Some cough products will combine two active ingredients to help relieve heavy chesty coughs. The addition of an expectorant (such as Guaiphenesin) can help loosen congestion in the lungs making it easier to cough up.
Some products will also contain other active ingredients such as:
- A nasal decongestant to help clear a blocked or runny nose: eg. Phenylephrine hydrochloride
- An antibacterial agent to help a sore throat: eg. Cetylpyridinium chloride
Chesty Cough – Other Tips
The following practical advice will also help with relieving a Chesty Cough:
- Water is a very effective natural expectorant.
- Drinking plenty of water helps to thin down and loosen mucus, making it easier to cough up.
- Aim to drink 6-8 glasses of water each day
- Try to drink a glass of water before each dose of cough medicine
- Steam vaporisers or inhalations increase the air’s humidity which may also help to loosen the mucus in the airways.
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