cough relief

The only cough relief you need this winter

Does the cough and cold season leave you and your family grappling with the challenge of managing coughs? Do those coughs run rampant in your household, bouncing from one family member to another? Is it difficult to find the time to investigate the many different ingredients in cough formulas and how effective they will be? At Prospan, our main priority is to provide support and guidance to parents and families during the cooler months.

One of the obstacles we encounter is the prevalence of myths and misconceptions surrounding coughs, particularly among parents. Many believe in the effectiveness of cough medicines, without fully understanding how they work or their potential side effects. At Prospan, it is our aim to debunk these myths and provide accurate information to empower parents to make informed decisions about managing coughs in their families.

At our core, we have a wealth of clinical evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of our product in alleviating cough symptoms while being gentle on the body. However, we recognise the challenge of communicating this evidence in a way that resonates with parents. Clinical data can often come across as dry or inaccessible, leading to a disconnect between the evidence and its relevance to families.

To address this challenge, we are committed to exploring creative and engaging ways to convey our clinical evidence to parents like simplifying complex scientific information into digestible content.

By breaking down barriers to understanding and providing clear, evidence-based information, we aim to empower parents with the knowledge and confidence to effectively manage coughs in their households. Through education, support and access to proven solutions, we strive to make cough and cold season a little easier for families everywhere. So, let’s begin.

What are the different types of cough?

Coughs manifest in various forms, with the most common being dry, chesty, paroxysmal and croup cough.

  • Dry and chesty coughs differ primarily in the presence of mucus, the viscous substance originating from the nose and sinuses.
  • A dry cough is non-productive, indicating minimal to no mucus expulsion, while a chesty cough involves productive coughing, often accompanied by the expulsion of mucus congestion from the chest.
  • Paroxysmal coughing presents as sudden, uncontrollable episodes, sometimes intense or painful, such as in cases of whooping cough.
  • Croup, a severe coughing condition, stems from viral infections that inflame the airways, predominantly affecting children under five years old. Its distinctive harsh, barking sound warrants immediate medical attention due to potential complications.

How can you tell which cough you or a family member may have?

Identifying the type of cough aids in effective management. Let’s delve a little deeper into the different types of coughs.

Chesty cough

What is a chesty cough?

Also known as a “wet” cough, a chesty cough involves the expulsion of mucus and phlegm. This process prevents mucus from infiltrating the lungs, averting potential infections.

Mucus accumulation, commonly triggered by viral infections like colds or flu, may exhibit yellow or green hues, inducing a heavy, tight sensation in the chest.

Additionally, chesty coughs may stem from more severe conditions like bronchitis or lung irritation due to environmental pollutants.

Symptoms of a chesty cough

  • Mucus expulsion
  • Wheezing upon inhalation
  • Audible “wet” sounds from mucus in the airways
  • Nasal congestion, sore throat, sneezing
  • Chest discomfort
  • Exacerbation in the morning

Causes of a chesty cough

Upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) like the common cold or flu commonly trigger chesty coughs. These infections, accompanied by typical symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat and fever, irritate the airways, prompting mucus drainage and subsequent coughing.

Moreover, chesty coughs may result from serious ailments like chest infections, chronic bronchitis, asthma or allergic reactions, often characterized by wheezing, chest pain and shortness of breath.

How long does a chesty cough last?

Typically commencing on the second or third day of a cold, coughs may persist for approximately 10 to 14 days even after other cold symptoms dissipate.

It’s crucial to discern all symptoms and identify potential causes, as chest infections may entail lengthier recovery periods and necessitate distinct treatment approaches.

How to alleviate a chesty cough

While chesty coughs lack definitive cures, several methods can ameliorate symptoms or hasten recovery. Explore these home remedies to ease discomfort:

  • Prospan cough formula
    Did you know that Prospan helps to relieve a chesty cough two times faster* than when left untreated? Prospan contains a unique climbing ivy plant extract (EA 575®), that is clinically proven to work in five different ways to loosen chest mucus, clear chest congestion, soothe the airways, calm the chest and relieve inflammation – providing soothing chesty cough relief.
  • Fluid intake
    Stay hydrated by consuming plenty of water, juices, soups and nutritious liquids.
  • Gargle salt water
    Gargling with warm salt water can alleviate throat inflammation up to three times daily.
  • Rest
    Prioritize warmth, rest and limited physical exertion to minimize infection transmission risk and expedite recovery.
  • Use a herbal chest rub
    Topical balms or ointments made with aromatic essential oils such as eucalyptus and menthol can help to relieve chest congestion. Known as “vapour rubs”, these balms can be massaged into the chest to help reduce inflammation and improve breathing.
  • Humidify the air
    Colder temperatures outdoors and higher temperatures indoors can dry out the air, making it more difficult to cough up mucus. A humidifier can increase moisture levels in the air by releasing water vapour or steam, but a steamy shower can help as well.

Dry cough

What is a dry cough?

Characterised by unproductiveness, dry coughs lack mucus expulsion. Triggers may include airborne particles like pollen or dust, cold or flu viruses or throat infections.

Inflamed upper airways exacerbate dry cough discomfort, manifesting as tickly sensations and persistent coughing, predominantly during daytime hours. Prolonged episodes may induce throat and chest soreness, attributable to air-only expulsion.

Symptoms of a dry cough

  • Absence of mucus
  • Ticklish chest sensation
  • Persistent, stubborn coughing
  • Exacerbation during daylight hours

Causes of a dry cough

While cold or flu viruses commonly provoke dry coughs, chronic conditions like asthma or allergic reactions may also trigger them. Environmental factors like cold or dry air can exacerbate symptoms.

How long does a dry cough last?

Dry cough durations vary based on causative factors, ranging from several days to weeks. Recovery aligns with viral infection resolution, signalling symptom alleviation.

How to alleviate a dry cough

Though dry coughs often resolve naturally, certain measures can ameliorate irritation and minimize coughing frequency:

  • At-home steam therapy
    Inhaling steam or vapor soothes dry throat and airway inflammation.
  • Stay hydrated
    Maintain hydration by consuming lots of warm, nourishing fluids, like soups, broths and teas, which aid in keeping your airways moist and bolstering your body’s immune response against the infection.
  • Rest
    Prioritize warmth, rest and limited physical exertion to minimize infection transmission risk and expedite recovery.
  • Use a herbal chest rub
    Topical balms or ointments made with aromatic essential oils such as eucalyptus and menthol can help to relieve chest congestion. Known as “vapour rubs”, these balms can be massaged into the chest to help reduce inflammation and improve breathing.

Foods to consume

When experiencing a dry cough, incorporating certain plant-based foods and teas into your diet can help alleviate respiratory symptoms.

  • Honey is a versatile remedy known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Adding honey to hot water or herbal tea can soothe throat irritation and chest discomfort.
  • Peppermint offers relief with its menthol content, known for its calming effect on the throat. Peppermint tea or lozenges can be beneficial.
  • Persistent coughs may benefit from ginger, a warming spice known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Ginger can help relax airway muscles, making breathing easier, while liquorice tea, naturally sweet, will soothe and moisten the mucous membranes

Foods to avoid

When experiencing a dry cough, people have found these foods make their cough worse.

  • Milk and dairy products are commonly associated with increasing mucus production however a number of scientific studies have shown that milk doesn’t actually increase mucus production or trigger coughing. That said, if you personally find that milk and dairy makes your coughing worse, it’s best to avoid it.
  • Some starchy vegetables. Starchy varieties like corn, potatoes and squash have the potential to elevate blood-sugar levels. Research indicates that heightened blood-sugar levels may contribute to congestion-related ailments, which can aggravate coughing and potentially impact lung health.
  • Vegetables with high histamine levels, such as eggplant and fermented options like sauerkraut, may trigger coughing in individuals with histamine intolerance.
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests that citrus varieties like grapefruit, oranges and lemons could irritate a sensitive throat, leading to coughing episodes. While scientific research on this matter is limited, if you find that citrus fruits exacerbate your symptoms, it might be prudent to avoid them.

Understanding the evidence: Prospan for chesty cough 

At WellBeing, we are committed to improving your and your family’s health and wellness. We have partnered with Prospan as we believe in the quality and efficacy of their formula to alleviate chesty coughs. We also know how difficult it is to explore the research behind a product, which is why we’ve done the hard work for you.

Backed by scientific evidence, Prospan cough formulas contain an exclusive extract of ivy leaf called EA 575® which has been shown in numerous clinical trials to provide five-action relief for coughs. First, it helps to thin out mucus in the chest so that it’s easier to “cough up” that irritating congestion. It then soothes those irritated airways and makes breathing easier for both kids and adults. EA 575® also helps to reduce inflammation in the respiratory tract so that you feel better faster.

Studies to read

Ivy leaves to treat coughs

For many years, extracts from ivy leaves have been used to treat coughs, especially when there’s thick mucus and as an extra treatment for lung diseases. Ivy leaves are special because we know how some of their active ingredient’s work. One of these ingredients, called α-hederin, works on specific receptors in the lungs, which helps with breathing and reducing mucus. This makes ivy leaf extracts good at relaxing the airways, thinning mucus and helping you cough less, which has been seen in studies with real patients.

Because ivy leaves have been shown to be effective and well tolerated, they’re listed in official guidelines for herbal medicines. One extract called EA 575® has been studied extensively, with over 65,000 patients. Despite having a lot of data already, more research is still being done on EA 575®.

It’s important to note that the clinical evidence is conducted on the extract EA575® and apply specifically to products with this extract. Other ivy leaf extracts might work differently because they have different extraction and processing methods.

Title: A Valuable Option for the Treatment of Respiratory Diseases [1]

Authors: Christopher Lang, Patricia Röttger-Lüer, Christiane Staiger

Ivy leaf liquid for less severe coughs

This study aimed to see if a liquid made from ivy leaves (EA 575®) could help adults with coughs. Using ivy leaves to treat coughs is common in some places, but there haven’t been many recent studies following strict guidelines. This study wanted to use standardised ways of measuring how well the therapy worked.

In the study, they found that people who used the ivy leaf liquid had less severe coughs compared to those who didn’t use it. Few people had side effects, and they were similar in both groups and mainly related to the cough itself. Even older people in the study had similar results to younger adults.

The study showed that even though coughs usually get better on their own, the ivy leaf liquid helped people feel better faster. People who used it reported more satisfaction with how well it worked compared to those who didn’t.

Overall, this study supports using ivy leaf liquid as a well tolerated and effective option for adults with coughs. It confirms findings from previous studies, showing that both adults and children benefit from ivy leaf preparations for coughs.

Title: A randomized, controlled, double-blind, multi-center trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a liquid containing ivy leaves dry extract (EA 575®) vs. placebo in the treatment of adults with acute cough[2]

Authors: A. Schaefer , M.S. Kehr , B.M. Giannetti , M. Bulitta, C. Staiger

Always read the label and follow the directions for use.

* Prospan is clinically proven to relieve a chesty cough in 7 days vs 14 days untreated. Schaefer A, et al., Pharmazie 2016;71(9):504-509.

[1] Lang, C et al. Planta Medica. 2015;81(12/13):968-74. Funded by Engelhard Arzneimittel GmbH & Co. KG.

[2] Schaefer, A et al. Pharmazie. 2016;71(9):504–509. Funded by Engelhard Arzneimittel GmbH & Co. KG.

Learn more and always read the directions before using 

Kate Duncan

Kate Duncan

Kate Duncan is the Editor of WellBeing and WILD. She loves surfing, creating raw desserts, flowing through nourishing yoga sequences and spending time with her new pooch, Maribou.

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