When the seasons change, the temperature always goes up and down, which is unpredictable. The elderly are more susceptible to diseases due to declining physical functions, and currently they are most susceptible to respiratory diseases with cough as the main symptom. How can the elderly avoid coughing problems? Identifying the cause of the disease, using symptomatic medication, and eating a reasonable diet are the keys.
Other illnesses may be behind your cough
Most elderly people have chronic underlying diseases, and other diseases may be hidden behind their cough symptoms, such as respiratory infections, pneumonia, bronchiectasis, bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, etc. Therefore, when an elderly person coughs, they must pay attention and not take it lightly.
Among them, the elderly should pay special attention to pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia, viral pneumonia, mycoplasma pneumonia, and fungal pneumonia are all “frequent” infections that invade the lungs of the elderly. Once an elderly person is infected with pneumonia, their cough will become more severe.
Therefore, the elderly must pay attention to prevention in daily life, such as wearing masks, washing hands frequently, exercising, getting vaccinated, etc., to avoid diseases.
Cough in the elderly often lingers and never heals
Many elderly people have similar feelings. When they are young, their coughs get better soon, but when they get older, their coughs often last for a long time. It is true that there are differences between young people’s cough and elderly people’s cough.
First of all, the causes of cough in young people are relatively simple, such as pharyngitis, bronchitis, cough variant asthma, etc., while the causes of cough in the elderly are more complicated, with chronic underlying diseases coexisting, such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, bronchiectasis, etc. .
Secondly, the cough of the elderly is often more stubborn and lingering than that of the young. Treating a cough is a “protracted battle”, possibly because older people have weaker immune systems and are more susceptible to germs. Moreover, the respiratory defense mechanism of the elderly is not as strong as that of young people, and they are more prone to coughing.
Finally, compared with young people, the cough symptoms of some elderly people are not obvious and cannot be recognized for a while, which can easily delay treatment. This may be related to the reduced respiratory system function and weakened cough reflex of the elderly. The elderly should pay more attention to their bodies.
Choose treatment drugs based on cough characteristics
Based on the above characteristics, when treating cough in the elderly, you must first ask a professional doctor to identify the cause of the cough and then choose an appropriate treatment method.
In addition, when the elderly cough, they often not only have “cough”, but also have “phlegm” and even “wheezing”. At this time, treatment methods should be selected based on the characteristics of the cough. In addition to anti-infection, the most important thing is phlegm treatment.
If the cough is accompanied by phlegm, especially if the phlegm is sticky and difficult to cough up, you can consider using some expectorants, such as ambroxol, eucalyptus, limonepine, and Sanao Tablets. If there is no phlegm, you can choose some cough medicines, such as dextromethorphan, Suhuang cough capsules, powerful loquat dew, etc. If cough and asthma are combined, antispasmodic and antiasthmatic drugs can be used, such as compound methoxynamine, montelukast sodium, etc.
These drugs must be used according to the doctor’s advice and must not be taken on your own. In particular, it should be noted that the elderly are not recommended to use antitussive drugs containing codeine. Codeine is an opioid antitussive and has certain addictive properties, which can lead to drug dependence and have adverse effects on the body.
Improper diet may worsen coughing
Improper diet may also cause a lingering cough, so you should also pay attention to your diet when you cough. First of all, eat less spicy food, cold drinks and greasy food, and it is best not to eat them to avoid irritating the respiratory tract and aggravating coughing. Secondly, drinking warm water regularly and appropriately can dilute sticky phlegm and effectively relieve cough. In addition, increasing the intake of fruits, vegetables and nuts rich in vitamin C and vitamin E can effectively improve immunity.
Another point that is easily overlooked is that sweet foods can also aggravate coughs. For example, the glutinous rice cakes that the elderly love to eat are usually made of glutinous rice flour, sugar and other seasonings and have a sweet taste. For people with coughs, excessive sugar intake may worsen cough symptoms because high-sugar foods can cause phlegm to become thicker and difficult to cough up. Glutinous rice can cause gastroesophageal reflux, thereby irritating the respiratory tract and possibly aggravating coughs, so it is not recommended for elderly people with coughs to consume excessive amounts.
It should be noted that glutinous rice cakes should be eaten while they are hot to make them more delicious. If you eat cold and hard glutinous rice cakes, it may cause throat redness and swelling and aggravate coughing. (Li Wei, a geriatrician at Shanghai Tenth People’s Hospital)