Basically, sinus cough is a symptom of a sinus infection which is also known as sinusitis. In this condition, inflammation occurs in the small sinus cavities. It mostly happens when the upper respiratory tract is attacked by germs like the common cold virus, bacteria or fungi. If the nasal passage gets irritated due to exposure to allergens, dust, smoke or harmful chemicals, then too it may lead to sinus inflammation and infection.
What Induces a Sinus Cough?
The sinuses are small, air-filled cavities which are located on the skull bone near the nose and forehead. There are several cavities in this area and their function is to trap dust, dirt and pathogens that enter the nasal passage. Thus they keep the respiratory passage free from all these unwanted debris and also protect the body from several infections. To keep this area lubricated, the glands in this area release some thin fluid substances which later on, drain to the back of the throat which is known as a post nasal drip. This mucus makes trapping of the foreign elements much easier. If the lining gets irritated, then an inflammation occur in them and the mucus production increases. As a result, the mucus turns thick. In this condition, the thick post nasal drip drained at the back of the throat causes irritation on the throat lining and induces cough. Thus the thick drainage makes you cough persistently.
How to Stop a Sinus Cough
We have already mentioned that it is the sinus drainage which actually triggers the cough. Therefore, when you visit a doctor, the treatment is not just confined to the use of cough medicine. Rather, it involves controlling the post nasal drip as well. Cough suppressants along with cough expectorants are two of the most widely used medicines for treatment. The suppressants helps in suppressing the coughing instinct. On the other hand, cough expectorants thin the mucus and facilitate faster expulsion of the mucus that trigger coughing. Besides, sucking on cough drops has a lubricating effect on the throat lining which in turn reduces the itchiness in the area that induces a cough.
Then there are other medicines that are used to alleviate other symptoms that accompany sinus cough. Saline nasal sprays are given which rinses off the mucus in the nasal passage and facilitate easier breathing. Steroid nasal sprays are often prescribed to control sinus drainage. Such sprays bring down the inflammation on the mucous membrane of the nasal passage and provide relief from the congested feeling inside the nose. Antihistamine medicines are prescribed for treating various allergy symptoms like a runny nose, watery eyes, etc. If there are signs of bacterial infection, then antibiotics are prescribed. Once the infection is eliminated with these medicines you can get relief from the annoying cough too. Some of these medicines are available over the counter as well. Still, it is strictly advisable that you take these medicines under medical supervision only.
Medicines that are being used for the treatment of sinus cough have side effects. For instance, some of them have sedative qualities and cannot be taken at daytime. If decongestant nasal sprays are taken for more than three days, it does not show enough results. For all these side effects, many people opt for home remedies. A few of them are as follows:
Gargling: This is an excellent way to control the throat irritation. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and use this solution for gargling several times in a day. This will rinse out the mucus from the throat and reduce the frequency of coughing.
Stream Inhalation: Take some hot water in a large bowl and add some eucalyptus oil to it. Cover up your head with a thick towel and place your face just above the pan to inhale the steam. This will moisten up the dry tissues of the nasal passage and throat lining and prevent a cough. Vaporizer can also be used for the purpose of steam inhalation.
Nasal Irrigation: You need a neti pot for nasal irrigation. Fill up the neti pot with lukewarm water and half a teaspoon of salt. Tilt your head on one side and bring the spout of the neti pot near one nostril. Pour the saline solution slowly into the nostril while you keep the other nostril closed with one of your fingers. Then spit out the water as it reaches the back of the throat. This will clear up the sinus drainage from the nasal passage as well as the throat.
Garlic and Honey: This is a great combination for cough relief. Take a few fresh cloves of garlic and chop them into thin slices. Put the garlic slices into a cup of honey and let them soak in it overnight. Take this mixture of honey and garlic juice two times in a day.
To stop a sinus cough, you must strictly avoid all those allergens that can increase coughing. Smokers should stop smoking. Non-smokers should avoid exposure to secondhand smoking. There are some foods that increase mucus production. They are caffeine, desserts, dairy products, fatty foods, etc. When you are suffering from sinus cough, you must either stop eating all these substances or at least minimize their intake until the cough subsides. The worst part of a sinus cough is that it worsens at night as the post nasal drip drains at the back of the mouth when you lie done. Coughing at night can be controlled by elevating the head with a few extra pillows.