Cough is one of the most common complaints for which people visit general practitioners or family physicians. A cough is a body’s protective reflex action when something irritates the throat or airways. Though occasional coughing is normal, a persistent cough with other associated symptoms like shortness of breath, mucus production, or bloody sputum could be the sign of a more serious medical problem and warrant a doctor’s visit. However, some symptoms of cough and tuberculosis are alike which may leave people baffled.
To recognize the symptoms of cough and tuberculosis correctly and to raise awareness against this respiratory disease on World Tuberculosis Day, HealthShots spoke to Dr Anish Desai, MD, Nutraceutical Physician at IntelliMed Healthcare Solutions.
“The type of cough and its duration is what helps clinicians to differentiate possible causes. Cough is common in pulmonary tuberculosis and other acute and chronic respiratory infections. The symptoms during the early stages of pulmonary tuberculosis are similar to those of common cold and cough. One needs to pay attention to the nature of coughing and its duration.” says Dr Desai.
The common cold and cough often follows a viral upper respiratory tract infection whereas tuberculosis is the bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
“On physical examination, in the common cold, there could be redness of nasal mucosa and throat. Chest examination is usually normal. Chest examination in tuberculosis patients displays abnormal breath sounds like crackles or wheezing especially over the upper lobes or involved areas,” suggests Dr Desai.
Diagnosis of tuberculosis can be done by positive TB skin test (Mantoux test), blood test (interferon-gamma release assays or IGRAs) and sputum test. Dr Desai says, “Chest X-ray shows radiographic features characteristic of tuberculosis such as infiltrates or cavities whereas common cold and cough is diagnosed based on history and physical examination and does not require chest X-ray or tests.”
It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is used traditionally for respiratory disorders. Effective for throat infection, cold and cough.
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It has got antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic (agent that reduces fever), and anti-fatigue effects. Turmeric could be effective in managing the symptoms of respiratory tract infection.
Used as antitussive, cough suppressant and expectorant, helps to clear cough that produces mucus.