Everyone hates a coughing fit. You start with a small cough that irritates you, and end up coughing so hard — you throw up! In this article we are going to look at what can cause a coughing bout and what you can do about it.
Coughing So Hard You Throw Up, Why?
1. Whooping Cough
A whooping cough is a severe condition that can last for a long period. People who suffer with this make a “whoop” sound in between coughs, as they try to breathe. The repeated exertion can damage the rib cage. It is caused by a bacterial infection of the pharynx. The microbes can irritate the throat triggering the coughs. The bacteria can easily spread through the air in tiny droplets released during a cough.
- Symptoms: It starts off with cold-like symptoms. You will have an intermittent cough accompanied by a running nose, watery eyes and a slight fever. The intensity of the cough then increases as other symptoms fade away. You will start coughing so hard (you throw up sometimes), but with time it becomes less frequent. However, any further illness can easily aggravate it.
- Treatment: Antibiotics are used to treat the bacterial infection. Close family members of patients are prescribed antibiotics as well as a precaution. Infants suffering from whooping cough are generally admitted to a hospital due to the fragile nature of their body systems.
This disease of the respiratory system can hinder the passage of air to the lungs. The membrane of the bronchi get inflamed and shut down the airways to the lungs, causing repeated coughs.
- Symptoms: Persistent violent coughing, low or no fever, and pain in the chest after coughing are symptoms of bronchitis. Yellow, white, green or clear phlegm may also be present in a sufferer. Bronchitis can be a chronic condition with coughs that persist for more than 90 days. Chronic patients may also suffer from wheezing and difficulty in retaining breath.
- Treatment: Different treatments are available for bronchitis depending on the factor causing it. A bacterial infection can be tackled with antibiotics while allergies and asthma require the use of inhalers. Cough suppressants can provide temporary relief while you sleep. People with a chronic condition will require specialized therapy to relearn breathing techniques.
3. Viral or Bacterial Infection
An infection is one of the most common reasons for coughs as the microorganisms can irritate the throat and leave you coughing so hard (you throw up at the end).
- Symptoms: A fever or cold indicate the presence of an infection, which is subsequently followed by a coughing fit.
- Treatment: An infection will slowly subside as the body’s immune system does its job. Medicines can be prescribed to fight a specific infection.
Smoking can lead to the blockage of the bronchi in the lungs. A chronic cough generally develops in regular smokers. The only treatment is to stop smoking and let the body repair itself.
Young children generally have severe coughing bouts due to asthma. Coughing accompanied by wheezing could be indicative of asthma. As children develop, they are able to breathe better but in some cases inhalers become a permanent fixture in their lives.
Some medicines can induce coughing as an undesirable side effect. For example, medicines like Zestril and Vasotec used to treat heart conditions have a component that on rare occasions can produce coughing fits. Stopping the course of medicines can put an end to the repeated coughs.
7. Others Causes
Some other conditions can result in a cough, like:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease, where stomach contents travel into the food pipe triggering coughing as a reflex.
- Damaged vocal cords can tickle the throat
- Pulmonary embolism
- Postnasal drips can irritate the throat and induce coughing
What to Do If Coughing so Hard You Throw Up
There are some ways to handle those sudden coughing bouts. These remedies will help any patient recover quickly.
1. Drink Enough Water
An infection in the upper throat can lead to secretions dripping down the back of the throat. These droplets tickle the throat and cause a coughing fit. Regular fluid intake will help reduce the viscosity of the dripping mucous. Water also helps keep the membranes in the respiratory system moist during dry winters.
2. Increase Humidity
Humid air can help loosen mucous stuck inside the body. Hot showers or the regular use of humidifiers in a home will let steam enter your body. Steam will force snot to flow and prevent it from tickling the throat. However, it is important to regularly clean the humidifiers as they can turn into hotbeds for fungal growth.
3. Get Rid of Irritants
Irritants in the air can cause severe coughing bouts. Some scents may seem wonderful to a few, but a source of constant irritation to others. Smoke is another common irritant and this is why most smokers suffer from regular coughing fits. If the body is adversely affected by some air-borne particle, it tends to release more mucous to clear the system, which in turn lead to coughing spells.
When to See a Doctor
A mild cough that lasts for a couple of weeks may subside on its own but if you are coughing so hard (you throw up at some point), it is important to seek a medical opinion. Some conditions that necessitate an appointment with your doctor are:
- A cough that persists for over 3 weeks
- Blood in your sputum
- Difficulty breathing in between coughing fits
- Occurrence of unrelated symptoms like weight loss, inflammation in the neck or changes in voice
- Increase in intensity of the cough
A doctor will be able to give an accurate diagnosis of the situation after conducting an X-ray examination and tests for infection.
A coughing fit is not the end of the world even if you are coughing so hard that you throw up; instead it can be easily and deftly handled if one understands the reasons for the same.