A persistent, dry cough that has lasted for several weeks. And does not appear to be due to an infection or respiratory disease. It is probably a nervous cough, also called psychogenic or somatic, which can affect both adults and children after 5-6 years of age.
But what are the symptoms of nervous cough, beyond duration? The symptoms of nervous cough are characterized by a series of noisy emissions. Always the same, ranging from a constant need to clear one’s throat to the scraping of the throat, as if something that in reality is not there should be eliminated.
In children, the pediatrician’s diagnosis is directed towards a nervous cough when following tests and tests with a negative result. The cough persists and does not seem to respond to the therapies. Usually, it is an irritating or “barking” cough and when it is of nervous origin, it tends to disappear during the night. Or when the child is distracted or engaged in games or activities that positively involve him.
Cough is an airway defense mechanism that protects the respiratory tree from the introduction of foreign substances or objects. A cough is the result of forced inhalation followed by a strong exhalation and expulsion of a large amount of air. This way you can eliminate any foreign bodies that. If they were transported to the lungs, it would cause the risk of suffocation.
Cough occurs due to the stimulation of respiratory receptors by agents or irritants: viruses, bacteria, dust, molds, chemicals, food, smoke, allergens. The cough then manifests itself differently according to the cause. And can be with or without mucus production. Acute cough can last two to three weeks, instead, we speak of chronic cough when the symptom does not subside and lasts for over 4-6 weeks. However, coughing is an alarm bell and it is not correct to try to eliminate it with cough suppressants without having researched the cause unless it is clearly the short-term consequence of flu or a cooling illness. The persistence of the cough should, in fact, also be investigated in these cases.
To diagnose nervous cough, it is necessary to exclude the presence of other pathologies that can manifest themselves with cough. From bronchial asthma, gastro-oesophageal reflux to more serious lung diseases. But also infections, inflammations of the upper respiratory tract, allergies, such as for example mites or the hair of pets.
The nervous cough, once the organic causes are excluded. It is configured as a psychosomatic disorder, expression of an internal discomfort of the person affected. The nervous cough can be due to unexpressed emotional tensions. Anxious states, unresolved anger towards personal or work situations, difficulties in adapting to patterns or situations, conflicts.
Coughing can sometimes turn into a nervous tic, an involuntary reflex that occurs especially intense situations. Often people affected by nervous cough reveal, following the clinical evaluation, a personal history characterized by mood disorders, anxiety or sleep disorders. In children, nervous coughing can be an unconscious way to attract attention or express discomfort that the child is unable to manage and otherwise transmit.
How to cure nervous cough
The treatment of nervous cough necessarily passes from an evaluation of the psychological causes that have determined it. Relaxation exercises and techniques, from meditation to yoga, can help to ease tensions.
But above all, and especially in the most serious cases. It is necessary to resort to the consultation of a psychotherapist. And evaluate the possibility of undertaking therapy aimed at the treatment of the states at the root of the nervous cough.
From the point of view of the domestic environment, generally humidifying the air is useful in case of dry cough. Too dry air, in fact, can irritate and inflame the mucous membranes and cause a cough. To increase the humidity level in the home, and to promote the release of the respiratory tract. You can use electric humidifiers that bring the right degree of humidity into the room (between 40% and 50%). With humidifiers, it is possible to use substances of natural origin, such as essential oils, which make the environment more pleasant or, in case of cough, beneficial balsamic essences can be spread. But beware of children and allergic people, in these cases the use of perfumed essences can be contraindicated.
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