You’ve heard it, read it, or experienced it yourself, smoker’s cough is a prolonged cough accompanied by clear, yellowish, or green phlegm. The coughing is persistent, meaning you have been experiencing it for more than 2 to 3 weeks. The cough is worst in the morning when you wake up and normally improves towards the end of the day.
What’s causing the cough?
Your airways are covered with tiny hair-like structures called cilia. The cilia prevent toxins and ther particles in the air from entering your lungs. Tobacco smoke paralyzes these the cilia. As a result, toxins and other harmful particles are able to pass through and enter your lungs, once in your lungs, the toxins starts to build up and causes inflammation.
When you sleep, your body tries to repair the damage and clear the toxins out of your lungs. This results to coughing as your body attempts to expel the harmful chemicals. The coughing becomes more intense as the cilia grows back.
Symptoms of a More Serious Cough
- Blood – Coughing up blood even on a single instance regardless of the amount of blood, should raise your concern.
- Hoarseness – Hoarseness in smokers lasting for several days may be due to many condition. It is important that you have your condition checked by your doctor.
- Wheezing – Coughing attended by wheezing suggests asthma. However, it’s not always the case. If you notice anything strange about your wheezing, don’t hesitate to consult your physician.
- Difficulty in breath – Do you find it difficult to catch your breath after climbing the stairs? Shortness of breath can be a sign of a more serious health condition.
- Excessive weight loss – It’s good to lose a few lines in the weighing scale, but if you’re losing too much weight or even without trying, this can be a sign of a more serious condition. Make sure to have it checked.
- Shoulders or back pain.
If you want to get rid of smoker’s cough, the best way is to quit smoking. The cough may worsen after you quit, but it will improve in time.
Coughing is a normal reaction of your body. It’s important that you understand that coughing has its purpose – to remove or expel irritants that you breath in.
Practices that can help treat your cough:
- Drinking 8 glasses of water every day.
- Gargling with salt and water solution.
- Eating a teaspoon of honey.
- Inhaling warm water vapor. Adding eucalyptus or mint leaves makes it more comforting.
- Sleeping with your head elevated.
- Exercising regularly.
- Eating healthy diet.
If you’re experiencing persistent cough, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor even if you suspect it to be just a smoker’s cough. Persistent coughing can be a sign of a more serious health condition like lung cancer. The earlier you are diagnosed, the higher your chance of surviving.
Regardless of how long you’ve been smoking, quitting is still your best option if you want to get rid of your cough. Giving your body the chance and time to heal gives you a better chance of recovery. Talk to your doctor about your choices.