What's the Best Cough Suppressant for Asthma?

Cough could arise among asthma patients, but how does one identify it? Wheezing or a shrill whistling sound usually accompanies an asthmatic cough due to deep breathing associated with constricted airways. An asthmatic may sometimes suffer no cough but a tightness in the chest and heavy breathing relieved by an inhaler or oral medications. If the symptoms are severe, a nebulizer or oxygen inhalation with medications is the usual treatment procedure. Inhaling steam eliminates colds and promotes relaxed breathing and restful sleep.

Effectively soothing cough medicine combines honey, glycerin, and lemon. Cough medications could contain ibuprofen or paracetamol and alcohol too. Check the label on the package to learn about combination medicines that may contain antihistamines, decongestants, or cough suppressants. Talk to the doctor while taking allergy, cough, cold, or sleep medications. Medicines react with each other and sometimes seriously.

Gels, cough drops, liquids, and cough relief medications crowd the pharmacy shelves. According to cough severity and to soothe the throat, choose the most suitable ones. Lacking confidence, the physician would help find the most appropriate. Some of the best choices are −

  • Boiron Chestal Honey Cold and Cough Syrup for Adults

  • Robitussin Long-Acting CoughGels, Cough Medicine for Adults, Children 12 Years and older

  • Mucinex Fast-Max DM with Guaifenesin, Cough Suppressant Liquid for Adults

Expectorants and Suppressants

Cough medications called Expectorants impact the production and expulsion of mucus. The commonly used OTC expectorant Guaifenesin thins the consistency of the mucus. Authorities disagree about the effectiveness. Hydrating with ample water is a good solution during a cold to set the mucus free.

Suppressants treat cough through suppression of the associated cough reflex in the brain. Among the common ingredients in OTC cough medicine is Dextromethorphan.

Identifying the Asthmatic Cough

Cough fights against bacteria and infection and attempts to expel foreign bodies as a part of the natural body defense. Phlegm and mucus production produces a productive cough that removes harmful matter. The asthmatic cough usually remains dry without phlegm unless a severe cold and chest congestion occurs—the non-productive cough results from the spasms of the bronchial tubes due to irritation. The airways become narrow and swell. Wheezing often occurs.

Common Causes of Coughing

Allergies and allergens often result in coughing, and the cause may be mold and pollen, dust, or animal fur/bird feathers. Chemicals, smoke, and air pollution could irritate the air passages. Medications and beauty products could irritate too. Preservatives for food often include sulfites in food and drinks. Even aspirin, NSAIDs, and nonselective beta-blockers that treat heart disease, maybe the cause. Exercise, colds, acid reflux, and sleep apnea could also cause coughing.

Coughs and Colds Resolve Soon.

If the cause of asthma is not identified, a cough presents no risks. Coughs and colds usually subside on their own within days and may not require any medication except something to soothe the throat. Saline gargle helps to clear up throat soreness.

Starting with Asthma Medications

Initially, an inhaler works fine to relieve asthmatic symptoms like breathlessness. Beclomethasone or budesonide are some medications that are inhaled. The quantity of corticosteroids inhaled is minute compared to the oral versions like tablets. Somebody should avoid long-term use of corticosteroids due to adverse effects. Inhalers are better.

Preventing Asthma Attacks

Precautions help prevent contact with triggers. Avoid known allergens like a flower, but that differs from patient to patient. Smoke and dust have a similar impact. Medications aim to reduce the irritation in the airways that cause asthma attacks that can get life-threatening. When the asthma attacks get severe, rescue medications help open up the airways and bring relief by facilitating airflow to the lungs.

Loss of Immunity

When immunity weakens due to specific reasons like insufficient nutrition, infections invade the body with ease. Medications of certain types could weaken immunity among asthma patients. Discuss with the health professional the dangers.

  • Excessive daily corticosteroid doses

  • Omalizumab or other biologic therapy 

  • Regular doses of asthma antibiotics every week

  • Tiotropium

  • Inhalers with high steroids and montelukast combined

Guarding Against Overdose

Overdosing on OTC cough and cold medications can result in life-threatening situations. Watch out for specific tell-tale symptoms. Get urgent medical attention.

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Anxiety and restlessness

  • Hazy eyesight and widened pupils

  • Hallucinations

  • Speedy heartbeat

  • Unclear speech 

  • Losing consciousness and seizures

Changing Inhaler Therapies

For ozone layer protection, chlorofluorocarbons had to go from inhalers. Chlorofluorocarbons had been an ordinary constituent. Hydrofluoroalkane propels inhalers instead unless the medication is in powder form. Levalbuterol makes up Xopenex which is the rescue inhaler.

Asthma and the Covid-19 Risks

Since the Covid-19 virus primarily attacks the lungs and asthma is lung-related, greater caution is the answer. Even though hard evidence is lacking yet, specialists agree that asthmatics face more significant risks with Covid-19 in the air. Though receding, the virus appears in certain areas in new variants, and the future is hard to predict. Children and adults with moderate and severe asthma should be more careful with masks, hand hygiene, and avoiding crowds.

Guard against lung infections that can result in an asthma attack. When little airways narrow, air does not pass either way. The result is labored breathing and cough, usually with wheezing. Even colds could lead to such symptoms, but it is not severe, and doctors and hospitals will not be required. Asthmatics should develop a plan of action regarding the coping strategies and the effort required according to severity. Severe asthmatic conditions require steroids, nebulizers, and perhaps oxygen. Antibiotics treat bacterial lung infections. If it is the flu, somebody may prescribe Tamiflu.

Not every cough indicates asthma, but asthmatics must be careful not to neglect the symptoms like chest tightness since they worsen. Home remedies like steam inhalations also relieve colds that are often the cause, especially with medications added. Pollution, dust, and smoke are other common irritants that lead to asthma.

Updated on: 11-Apr-2023

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