What to look out for
Coughing is part of your body’s natural immune defence system. It is better to cough up phlegm than to have it stay lower in your lungs where it can cause serious infections such as pneumonia.
If you have asthma, your cough may be caused by dust, pollens, grasses, cold air or exercise. However, your cough could also be caused by the common cold, especially if it comes with other symptoms such as a runny or blocked nose, fever, sore throat, earache or general aches and pains.
What can you do
If your cough is caused by a cold, talk to your pharmacist. Over-the-counter cough remedies may ease your cough and help you to bring up phlegm so that coughing is easier. Paracetamol or ibuprofen will relieve pain. Antibiotics are rarely needed for coughs. Rest, drinking plenty of liquids and taking time to allow your immune system to fight the infection are very important.
Coughing spreads the germs that caused your cough in the first place so it is important not to spread the illness to others. You can do this by coughing into a tissue, binning the tissue immediately and washing your hands afterwards.
As you have asthma, you are probably already on inhalers and perhaps tablets to control your asthma. When your symptoms flare you need to follow the management plan you have agreed with your doctor. This will vary depending on the pattern and severity of your asthma. It will usually mean taking your reliever inhaler 4 to 5 times a day and perhaps increasing your preventer inhaler while you have the cough. You may need a short course of steroids, but asthmatics rarely need antibiotics even though they are commonly prescribed.
Green phlegm is produced by inflammation caused by irritation of the lungs and does not necessarily mean there is a bacterial infection that needs antibiotics.
When to seek help
If your asthma is not relieved by your usual management plan you should be checked by your doctor.
For more information on coughs visit the HSE website by clicking here
For more information on asthma visit the HSE website by clicking here
As you can probably guess, this website can’t ever replace the advice you might get from a health professional. While we aim to give you the best advice we can, if you are at all worried about yourself or your child, please call or visit your GP or your Pharmacist.
We hope you feel better soon!