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Top 8 cough myths busted

A lot of people have many misconceptions about cough. Here's busting some myths.

Written by Pavitra Sampath |Updated : November 2, 2015 1:16 PM IST

A cough is usually associated with a cold, and most people have a number of ways to get rid of the irritating condition. While a number of home remedies might work, there are a few myths that need to be busted:

Myth 1: All cough is due to an infection

Fact: Not true, not all coughs are due to infections. There are a number of other reasons for it. Dr Mandar Kubal, director at the Infectious Diseases & Pulmonary Care Pvt Ltd says, 'The causes of cough can range from something as simple as common viral or bacterial infections to pneumonia, gastro esophageal reflux to heart failure in rare cases.'

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All coughs require antibiotics

Myth 2: Every cough needs antibiotics

Fact: According to Dr Mandar Kubal, 'Most coughs are caused due to viruses, so loading your system with antibiotics will not help relieve it.' Although there are bacteria that cause a sore throat and cough associated with it, having antibiotics without a prescription can do more harm than good. Whether you should opt for antibiotics or not is best decided by your physician.

Myth 3: Cough is always self-limiting

Fact:Cough is a protective reflex to rid your body of mucus and irritants and is mostly due to either an infection or some irritants. Home remedies and OTC cough formulations do provide symptomatic relief and may even limit the cough in some cases. However, if it gets worse and/or continues for a prolonged period of time, it is prudent to visit a doctor.

Warm soup can cure a cough

Myth 4: All longstanding cough is tuberculosis

Fact:Dr Gyanshankar Mishra, a renowned pulmonologist says, 'It is important for people to realize that not every cough is tuberculosis. There are other chronic causes of cough also like pneumonia, COPD, asthma, ILD (Interstitial lung disease), Lung cancer, etc.'

Myth 5: Warm soup can cure a cough

Fact: Cough is most often caused due to an infection or as a symptom of some other condition. Dr Mandar says, 'Soup or any warm fluid is soothing to the throat and decreases irritation but it cannot cure the infection.'

Myth 6: Eating sour food can cause a cough

Fact: According to Dr Mandar, 'There is no evidence to support the fact that eating sour foods can cause a cough. Feeling slight irritation in the throat is possible though.'

All cough syrups are addictiveMyth 7: All cough syrups cause drowsiness

Fact: No. Only cough syrups containing active ingredients such as antihistamines including chlorpheniramine cause drowsiness. The newer formulations with active ingredients such as dextromethorphan do not do so.

Myth 8: All cough syrups are addictive

Fact: While most cough syrups aren't addictive, some of them which contain codeine have addictive potential. Do keep an eye out for signs of such addiction, especially in teenagers.

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*Source: apiindia.org, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Also read: Coughs are of different types, so are their solutions

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