Causes and Treatments of a Chesty or Dry/Tickly Cough

Coughing starts when part of the airway in the lung becomes inflamed or irritated. It's a basic reflex as it is designed to remove the irritant. However a tickly, dry cough is no fun and a chesty cough can be exhausting.

Continual coughing can quickly affect the throat (making it sore) and can put a strain on both the back and chest muscles.

The two key things to remember with a cough are:

  1. To treat it with the right sort of remedy, according to what 'type' of cough it is
  2. When to see a doctor

Treating a dry, tickly cough

There is no actual benefit to having an irritating dry, tickly cough and so a cough suppressant medicine can be used to relieve these symptoms. These trick the brain and suppress the urge to cough. The Common Cold Centre also suggest sipping hot drinks as the hot fluid has a demulcent effect – effectively coating the throat and relieving the irritation that causes coughing.

Treating a chesty cough

A chesty cough on the other hand is productive – i.e. it serves as useful purpose as it helps expel mucus (phlegm), which would otherwise build up in the lungs. To help this process look for an 'expectorant' type of cough medicine that can help make the cough more 'productive' - by loosening the mucus. If you look at the Lemsip range, check out Lemsip Chesty Cough, or Lemsip Mucus Cough to see which is best suited to your symptoms.

When to visit your doctor

While coughs are generally a natural immune response by the body it is important that you should be seen by a GP if you have the following cough symptoms:

  • persists for more than two weeks
  • gets progressively worse
  • contains blood or large amounts of green or yellow phlegm

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