■Li Wei

When the seasons change, the temperature is always up and down, which is unpredictable. Older people are more susceptible to diseases due to their declining physical function, and are most susceptible to respiratory diseases with cough as the main symptom. How can the elderly get rid of cough troubles? Identifying the cause, symptomatic medication, and reasonable diet are the keys.

There may be other ailments behind the cough

Older people often have chronic underlying diseases, and cough symptoms may hide other diseases, such as respiratory tract infections, pneumonia, bronchiectasis, bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, etc. Therefore, when the elderly have a cough, they must be paid attention to and should not be taken lightly.

Among them, the elderly should pay special attention to pneumonia, bacterial pneumonia, viral pneumonia, mycoplasma pneumonia, fungal pneumonia are all "frequent visitors" that invade the lungs of the elderly. Once an elderly person is infected with pneumonia, the cough becomes more severe.

Therefore, the elderly must pay attention to prevention in their daily life, such as wearing masks, washing hands frequently, exercising, vaccination, etc., to avoid diseases.

Cough tends to persist in older people

Many elderly people have similar feelings, coughing does not take long to get better when they are young, but when they are old, coughing often takes a long time. It is true that there is a difference between cough in young people and cough in older people.

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 complex, and chronic underlying diseases coexist, such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, bronchiectasis, etc.

Second, coughs tend to be more persistent and persistent in older people than in younger people. Treating cough is a "long battle", which may be due to the fact that older people have a weakened immune system and are susceptible to germs. Moreover, older people do not have as strong respiratory defense mechanisms as younger people and are more likely to cough.

Finally, compared with young people, some elderly people have less obvious cough symptoms, which is not recognizable for a while, and it is easy to delay treatment. This may be related to the decline of respiratory function and the weakening of the cough reflex in the elderly, and the elderly should pay more attention to their bodies.

Treatment is selected based on the characteristics of the cough

Based on the above characteristics, the elderly should first ask a professional doctor to identify the cause of cough and then choose the appropriate treatment method for the treatment of cough.

In addition, when the elderly have a cough, they often have not only "cough", but also "phlegm" and even "wheezing", so the treatment method should be selected according to the characteristics of the cough. In addition to anti-infection, the most important thing is expectorant treatment.

If the cough is accompanied by phlegm, especially if the phlegm is sticky and not easy to cough up, you can consider using some expectorants, such as ambroxol, eucalyptus, triangella, etc. If it is not accompanied by phlegm, you can choose some cough medicines, such as dextromethorphan, Suhuang cough capsules, strong loquat loquat dew, etc. If cough and asthma are combined, antispasmodic and antiasthmatic drugs such as compound methoxiramine and montelukast sodium can be used.

These drugs must be used as directed by a doctor and should never be taken on their own. In particular, it is not recommended for the elderly to use cough suppressants containing codeine, which is an opioid cough suppressant and has a certain addictive nature, which can lead to drug dependence and adverse effects on the body.

Cough may be aggravated by improper diet

Improper diet may also cause a cough to persist and not heal, so be careful about what you eat and drink when coughing. First of all, spicy food, cold drinks and greasy food should be eaten sparingly, and it is best not to eat them so as not to irritate the respiratory tract and aggravate the cough. Secondly, drinking warm water regularly and appropriately to dilute sticky phlegm can 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 easy to overlook, sweets can also worsen coughing. For example, the glutinous rice cake that the elderly love to eat, is usually made of glutinous rice flour, sugar and other spices, and has a sweet taste. For people with cough, excessive sugar intake may worsen cough symptoms because high-sugar foods can cause phlegm to become thicker and more difficult to cough up. Glutinous rice can cause gastroesophageal reflux, which can irritate the respiratory tract and may aggravate cough, so excessive consumption is not recommended for elderly people with cough.

It should be reminded that glutinous rice cakes should be eaten hot to make them more delicious, and if you eat cold and hard glutinous rice cakes, it may cause a red and swollen throat and aggravate coughing.

(The author is a geriatrician at Shanghai Tenth People's Hospital)

Source: Wen Wei Po