What are the typical symptoms to look out for?
The most common symptom to look out for when it comes to a productive cough is if you or an individual is tussis up relatively large amounts of phlegm or sputum. Phlegm is a type of mucus that contains high amounts of debris, bacteria, sloughed-off cells or even dead or damaged tissue. Other symptoms of a productive cough include a heavy feeling within your chest, and also slight and even severe breathlessness. In some cases of productive cough an individual may even show signs of a fever, which may include a runny nose and mucus in the throat.
How can I diagnose a productive cough?
Diagnosing a productive cough is relatively easy to do. Your doctor will ask you about the symptoms that you are experiencing before listening to the sounds in your chest with a stethoscope. They will also check your breathing for any tell-tale-signs of congestion or any signs of difficulty in breathing (a difficulty in breathing can be easily identified by a raspy sounding intake of air). In the rare event that your doctor may suspect another cause, he or she may request further tests and examinations to be carried out and performed; some of which may include blood tests, a sputum sample, and also a chest x-ray. Needless to say, it's very important that you seek out advice and examinations from your doctor at the earliest convenience to minimize or avoid complications that may be due to underlying problems such as disease.
How is a productive cough treated?
There is a wide variety of different methods and practices when it comes to treating tussis.
You can help your body in cleansing away the mucus by using an expectorant product. Expectorant products typically work by breaking up the mucus within your body which makes it far for your body to bring it up by coughing. Medicines such as expectorant products are most commonly available over the counter.
Typically for a non productive cough, it's important that you keep yourself well hydrated with plenty of fluids, such as water or fresh orange juice (as it contains a lot of healthy vitamin C) and it's recommended that you also avoid inhaled irritants. Lozenges for your throat may also help to soothe scratchy or sore throats that are caused by continuous tussis.
It's usually common for most tussis to fully clear up in around 2 to 3 weeks. If your cough continues longer than 2 to 3 weeks or may be associated with other symptoms (such as those listed above), make sure you visit your pharmacist or doctor as soon as possible.