10/21/2017

Coughing at Night

Coughing at Night

Cough is a mechanism by which the body is able to throw away unwanted particles that have entered the throat and the lungs. One may experience intermittent bouts of coughing any time during the day, and is considered to be a protective response of the body that drives away all the undesirable debris from the respiratory system. However, coughing frequently everyday during nighttime is not normal and demands prompt medical attention. Be it children or adults, persistent night coughing gives a feeling of chest discomfort and disrupts a good night's sleep.

The gas exchange which takes place between pulmonary capillaries and alveoli is termed as pulmonary gas exchange.

Movement of gas within pulmonary capillaries, towards peripheral capillaries and back to lungs is referred to as gas transport.

  • The exchange of gases between tissues and tissue capillaries is referred to as peripheral gas exchange.
  • The facts presented in this article give us a rough idea of the anatomy and functioning of the respiratory system.
  • The information about different organs in the respiratory system should allow you to understand their structure and functions in a better manner.

The left lung is divided into 2 lobes (superior and inferior) while the right lung into 3 (superior, inferior and middle).

  • Each lung possesses a triangular organ called hilum; blood vessels, nerves, lymphatics and bronchi pass through the hilum.
  • AlveoliThe alveoli are sac-shaped bodies present inside the lungs, at the tip of alveolar ducts.
  • The alveoli function like an interface for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between lungs and capillaries.

Epiglottis, thyroid and cricoid are the three important cartilages of larynx; other cartilages present inside the larynx are corniculate, arytenoid and cuneiform.

  • Corniculate cartilage facilitates the flap-like action of epiglottis.
  • TracheaThe trachea, also known as windpipe, extends from larynx to bronchi.
  • In fact, the trachea gets branched into bronchi.
  • It facilitates the flow of air towards the bronchi.

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Lung Compliance Curve

  • Lung compliance can be classified into two types: static compliance and dynamic compliance.
  • The former represents pulmonary compliance during periods without gas flow, such as during an inspiratory pause.
  • It can be calculated with the formula:

Causes and Symptoms

This is a highly-contagious and common health problem. It is a viral infection which is characterized by the upper respiratory system inflammation. There are several agents which are responsible for this infection. The most common among them are the parainfluenza virus, Bordetella bronchiseptica, and mycoplasma. The former is an airborne virus which is present in almost every dog. This infection usually spreads from one dog to another, especially in a place like a dog show or a kennel. The infection that is present in the lungs of the dog is released into the air when the infected dog coughs or sneezes. If another dog is present nearby, then that dog becomes infected as well. Some of the major kennel cough symptoms are as follows. However, do not worry as there is a vaccine for this illness.

Viral Infections

Viral infections affecting the upper respiratory tract such as common cold and seasonal flu too can trigger barking cough in adults at night. In addition to night cough, these medical conditions are typically marked by sore throat, fever and body aches. Even after the viral infection associated with common cold has gone away, the patient may continue to experience dry cough that aggravates during nighttime and may last for quite a few weeks.

Heart Problems

Coughing at night could also suggest that the heart is not functioning properly. To be precise, it might indicate the presence of congestive heart failure (CHF). People with CHF suffer from mucus producing cough. The mucus that is coughed up during heart problems is pinkish in color. Besides coughing up mucus, the patient may complain about trouble breathing, racing or pounding heart.

Lung Infection

Lung infections that include bronchitis or pneumonia can also be responsible for causing night cough. Bronchitis, a viral infection, typically brings swelling of the bronchi, tubes that transport air to and from the lungs. The inflammation narrows the air passages, making it difficult to breathe properly. Occurrence of dry or phlegm producing cough will depend on how far the infection has affected the respiratory tract. In case the colonization of the virus remains restricted to the lower respiratory tract, persistent dry cough is the likely outcome. Mucus generating cough lasting for a minimum period of 3 months point towards chronic bronchitis. People affected with interstitial lung diseases and other conditions like idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, bronchiectasis and tuberculosis also tend to cough incessantly at night.

Home Remedies

Dry cough is best treated with the help of home remedies that are effective and safe as well. Natural ingredients are to be used for these remedies. They provide long term relief and also prevent it from reoccurring. The above treatment and remedies should be followed as soon as dry cough is developed. If it is persistent or chronic, medical assistance should be sought for it, and once it has been cured, make sure you take appropriate measures to prevent it from recurring.

Oropharynx: It is located between the soft palate and upper part of epiglottis.

  • Laryngopharynx: This part of the pharynx is located below the epiglottis.
  • It opens into the esophagus and larynx.
  • EpiglottisIt is a flap-like structure (epiglottis) which prevents food or water from entering the trachea at the time of swallowing.

Postnasal Drip

Respiratory issues such as common cold, seasonal flu and sinus infection are commonly accompanied by postnasal drip, a condition in which abnormally high secretion of mucus in the nasal activity (nostrils) that eventually travels down to the throat. The excess mucus build up gives a feeling of lump in the throat. People with post nasal drip cough frequently, especially at night, which actually helps to remove mucus and clear the throat.

Allergic Reaction

Exposure to allergens, which can be air borne particles such as dust and pet dander during nighttime can also lead to sudden bouts of coughing. The immune system considers allergens as harmful substances, and so when they are inhaled, they irritate the respiratory tract. The irritation causes accumulation of mucus in the respiratory tract. To get rid of this mucus buildup, the person may excessively cough temporarily. Apart from forceful coughing, contact with allergens can also cause itchy watery eyes and congested nose.

  • Consuming foods at night that you are allergic to can also cause persistent cough.
  • For instance, many have the habit of drinking milk before retiring to bed.
  • However, if they are allergic to dairy products, they may cough persistently throughout the night.

Cstat = VT Pplat - PEEP

Cstat stands for static compliance. VT stands for tidal volume and Pplat stands for plateau pressure that is measured at the end of inhalation and prior to exhalation using an inspiratory hold maneuver. PEEP stands for positive end expiratory pressure.

Treatment

Gargling With Salt Water.

  • One can also get considerable relief from a bad, noisy cough that keeps everyone awake, by gargling several times with warm salt water.
  • Mix half a teaspoon of salt properly into a cup of warm water and then gargle to reduce cough.
  • Research has show that honey is an effective approach towards decreasing frequent bouts of cough that happen at night.
  • Honey is completely safe and is often prescribed for children having coughing fits.
  • A single dose, as recommended by the doctor, before bedtime can provide immense relief from persistent cough, and allow the child to sleep happily.

Steam Inhalation

Excess mucus production is often responsible for causing chest congestion and persistent cough. Steam inhalation provides an easy way to reduce mucus build up and improve cough. This simple home remedy liquifies the mucus, which facilitates mucus drainage from the lungs.

Massaging a chest rub in which eucalyptus is an active ingredient can provide relief for many hours. Keeping indoors clean, free from dust mites and other allergens can also stop episodes of nighttime coughing. In case the aforementioned remedies provide temporary relief, with night cough resuming again, then it is indicative of a serious health issue, and so the first priority should be to consult a competent doctor and take the necessary treatment as per the diagnosis.

Medicines

Tessalon Perles (Benzonatate) is a drug that is prescribed for people suffering from persistent coughing at night. This oral medication can suppress and even stop cough caused due to allergies and colds. Tessalon Perles is a great remedy for chronic dry cough. This drug has been very effective to relieve cough, however, consultation with a doctor is essential before taking this medicine. This is because the drug is not suitable for certain medical conditions like asthma. Even pregnant women and children less than 10 years old are advised to stay away from this drug.

Asthma patients may get relief from cough and breathing problems by inhaling corticosteroids. On the other hand, people suffering from bronchitis are able to effectively manage their symptoms with broncho-dilators, medications that help to dilate airways and ease breathing.

Antihistamines

Antihistamines may also help to relieve an allergic cough. When a person is exposed to an allergen, the body cells secrete a chemical known as histamine, which is responsible for causing bothersome symptoms. Taking prescription antihistamine such as Benadryl and 'Robitussin Allergy and Cough Syrup' is effective to stop the release of histamines, thereby helping to reduce or prevent allergy symptoms.

  • Trachea lies to the anterior side of the esophagus; it is tubular in shape with a diameter of 1 inch. and length of 4.25 inch.
  • Its length spans between the 6th cervical and 5th thoracic vertebrae.

Chronic bronchitis is primarily caused by cigarette smoking, bacterial or viral infections, and air pollution, and long-term fume inhalation. It can also appear as a symptom of asthma, tuberculosis, sinusitis and pulmonary emphysema. Is chronic bronchitis contagious? No. If you have chronic bronchitis, people around you, will not get infected. But you can get chronic bronchitis, if people around you smoke, and you end up inhaling a lot of second-hand smoke. As estimated 9.9 million Americans have been diagnosed, with chronic bronchitis.

  • The treatment involves insertion of a needle or a chest tube for the suction of the excess air.
  • If the condition of the patient is severe, he/she might have to be hospitalized for a while.
  • Some patients might require oxygen therapy as well.
  • If there is a recurrence, doctors might recommend surgery.
  • Make sure that you refrain from any activity that may cause stress to the lungs.
  • Since smoking makes one more susceptible to this condition, it's in one's interest to quit smoking soon.

This procedure prescribed by many doctors works like a magic wand to stop coughing. You will notice the difference within minutes. Vicks VapoRub when used this way can stop coughing fits within 5-7 minutes, thus allowing the patient to have a good night's sleep. People experiencing persistent bouts of cough at night have found relief for quite some time after covering feet soles with Vicks VapoRub.

Dos and Don'ts

Cough and congestion is caused due to common cold, the symptoms should clear within 1-2 days. If not, then the underlying cause may be severe.

Is recommended to take prescription medicines to treat other accompanying symptoms like fever, headache, body ache, pain of any kind, etc.

  • Antibiotics are required to treat bacterial bronchitis and bacterial pneumonia.
  • However, antibiotics prove ineffective against viral infections.
  • Over-the-counter medicines just suppress the symptoms and do not completely cure the underlying cause.
  • Therefore, it is essential to get the underlying cause diagnosed properly before opting for any medications.
Damion McdanielDamion Mcdaniel
Damion is a leading content curator at palyamotorozas.com, a site about health tips. Last year, Damion worked as a manager for a well-known high tech web site. When he's not reading new content, Damion enjoys singing and shopping.