According to the Spanish Society of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery (SEPAR), the annual prevalence of cough in the population, a common symptom of various pathologies and allergies, ranges from 10% to 30%. Cough is a protective reflex action whose function is to expel foreign bodies or secretions that may irritate the bronchi, trachea or larynx such as impurities, gases, tobacco smoke, germs, excessively cold or hot air or food fragments.
As CINFA doctor Dr. Julio Masset explains, “Although it is one of the most common reasons for medical consultation, this symptom is not a cause for alarm in most cases, especially if it is acute, that is, less than 4 weeks. Duration. However, since there are many types of cough depending on its frequency or intensity, it can be very annoying and have a great impact on the quality of life of those who suffer from it.
The most common causes of acute cough include upper respiratory tract infections, such as ColdThe pharyngitis, acute bronchitisThis also pneumoniasharpening of a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or post-nasal drip, for example, the result of sinusitis, And the conditions that can cause chronic cough include chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) And also post-nasal drip. Similarly, different types of allergies can cause coughs with different characteristics.
Why do you cough more at night?
On the other hand, “night coughs may be perceived as more bothersome or feel more intense when we are in a period of rest. This usually begins to increase or worsen as the horizontal position we adopt while sleeping causes the upper airways, such as the pharynx, to narrow, as secretions collect in the back of the throat, causing a cough. A seizure may occur. , In any case, this symptom makes it difficult to get a comfortable rest at night, which can weaken the body’s natural recovery ability, especially when the cough is the result of an illness. Therefore, lack of restful sleep can aggravate, worsen or make this condition chronic,” explains the expert. Similarly, lack of Dream Persistent coughing at night can result in decreased concentration and irritability during the day, as well as decreased physical energy, fatigue, and changes in behavior and emotions.
Similarly, there are also environmental factors, such as the humidity of the bedroom, which can affect the intensity of cough at night. “High temperatures during summer and use of heating during winter can both make the room environment dry. In this case, measures such as avoiding extreme heat and using a humidifier in the bedroom may help make the nighttime cough less severe,” says Dr. Massett.
Of course, it will also be necessary to treat the cause of the cough, whether chronic or acute. “If the cough is very annoying and interferes with the night’s rest, the best option, if the cough is chronic or has symptoms of asthma or bronchitis, is to go to our family doctor, who will prescribe the most appropriate treatment. We should not decide not to take rest because of cough. If it is a cold or seasonal allergies, our pharmacy will also be able to offer us solutions for each type of cough,” concludes the SINFA expert.
Ways to control cough at night:
1. Keep the humidity in the room at least 40%. Dry environment irritates the respiratory system and increases cough. Consult your health care professional about the possibility of using a cold mist humidifier and, in winter, do not abuse heating.
2. Raise the head of your bed. Or, if applicable, your son or daughter’s crib or bed. This will facilitate the passage of air through the airways and prevent postnasal drip. You can also use a double pillow or a quad pillow under it to cover your head a bit.
3. Wash your nose before going to bed. Washing your nasal passages with sea water or salt water can give you relief from cough and hence provide relief.
4. Take honey or herbal candy to soothe your throat. On the other hand, do not resort to menthol, as it is an irritating agent.
5. Drink at least two liters of water a day. This habit will help you keep your airways hydrated and moist. Moreover, in case of cough with mucus, it helps to make the mucus more liquid and hence, expel it more easily. In addition to water, you can drink juices, broths and infusions. It is especially beneficial if you do it before sleeping.
6. Take deep breaths and swallow saliva when you have a coughing attack. You can also drink water that is not cold or a warm drink with a teaspoon of honey if possible.
7. Avoid smoky places. Smoke is an irritant that stimulates coughing. Do not smoke and when necessary ask others not to smoke around you.
8. Seek professional help if you have a severe cough. If the cough prevents you from resting and especially if there are symptoms such as fever, difficulty breathing or non-transparent mucus, it may be necessary for you to make an appointment with your family doctor so that he can properly diagnose you and Can give advice. Most appropriate treatment. If the cough is caused by a cold or seasonal allergies, you can visit your pharmacist for advice about the appropriate solution.
9. If you have allergies, pay attention to allergens. For example, when pollen levels are very high, try to go outside as little as possible and keep windows closed. On the other hand, if you are allergic to dust, make sure to keep the room well ventilated and wipe the dust from surfaces with a damp cloth.
10. If you are suffering from GERD, get it under control. disease of Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) This may cause throat irritation and cough, especially at night. In addition to seeing a doctor for help controlling it, avoid foods that cause irritation, such as those rich in fat or spicy. Also, avoid overeating, especially during the four hours before bedtime.
Spanish Society of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery (SEPAR)