Cough is a kind of reflex stimulated by irritation of the respiratory mucosa in the lungs, the trachea or the pharynx. It is a protective mechanism which helps to clear the airways of contaminants.
A cough may be described as either productive (wet) or non-productive (dry). The duration of cough as well as the character of the sputum may be helpful in eliciting the possible cause of cough.
Productive cough brings up mucus and thereby helps to clear the airways. One of the causes of this kind of cough may be bacterial infection, so in this situation it is inadvisable to suppress the cough reflex. In the wet cough therapy expectorants are used. They help to get rid of phlegm. They increase bronchial secretions and reduce the tenacity of mucus. There are two possible mechanisms by which expectorants may act. They may irritate the gastric mucosa, which produces a reflex stimulation of the bronchial tree. It in turn responds by secreting more mucus. Another way is diluting phlegm by breaking the disulfide bonds in mucoglycoproteins of the bronchial mucus. The best known expectorants are acetylcysteine, carbocysteine, ammonium salts, guaifenesin, Ipecacuahna, bromhexin.
Non-productive cough may be very irritating and exhausting. It is very common in viral infections of the upper respiratory tract, and in chronic bronchitis. In most cases the cause is unlikely to be bacterial infection. Sometimes it happens that a patient describes the cough as dry, but in fact he or she produces phlegm which lingers in the chest. In such cases, the cough is best regarded as wet rather than dry, and the pharmacist should recommend expectorants rather than cough suppressants. In the dry cough therapy cough suppressants may be used. Usually they act centrally by stopping the cough reflex (like dextromethorphan or codeine). They may produce dependence and that’s why only short courses should be recommended.
EXERCISE. CHOOSE TRUE OR FALSE.
1. Cough suppressants should be used in both wet and dry cough.
2. Expectorants may increase the amount of bronchial mucus.
3. Productive cough may suggest bacterial infection.
4. Difficulty with coughing up bronchial mucus is an attribute of dry cough.
5. Dextromethorphan is safe and does not produce dependence.
• irritation [ɪrɪˈteɪʃən] – drażnienie
• mucosa [myuˈkoʊsə] – błona śluzowa
• airways [ˈɛərweɪz] – drogi oddechowe
• contaminant [kənˈtæmənənt] – zanieczyszczenie
• sputum [ˈspyutəm] – plwocina, flegma
• to elicit [tə ɪˈlɪsɪt] – wydobywać, uzyskiwać
• mucus [ˈmyukəs] – śluz
• cough reflex [kɔf ˈriflɛks] – odruch kaszlowy
• expectorant [ɪkˈspɛktərənt] – środek wykrztuśny
• tenacity [təˈnæsɪti] – lepkość
• to dilute [tə dɪˈlut] – rozrzedzać
• disulfide bond [daɪˈsʌlfaɪd bɒnd] – wiązanie disiarczkowe
• upper respiratory tract [ˈʌpər ˈrɛspərətɔri trækt] – górne drogi oddechowe
• bronchitis [brɒŋˈkaɪtɪs] – zapalenie oskrzeli
• to linger [tə ˈlɪŋgər] – zalegać
Correct answers: false, true, true, false, false
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