Cough variant asthma (CVA) is a milder form of asthma. Children are more likely than adults to have this type of asthma.
Cough variant asthma doesn’t have typical asthma symptoms. CVA is mainly associated with one symptom – a chronic cough that is usually dry and unproductive, which may be worse at night. This cough lasts at least six to eight weeks.
Due to extensive coughing, there can be increased inflammation in the airways. However, the risk of severe airway narrowing is lower with this type of asthma.
Dry and unproductive coughing can cause sleep disruption, exhaustion, cracked or fractured ribs, vomiting, and lightheadedness.
Just like standard chronic asthma, experts are still not sure what causes CVA. However, experts believe that allergens like pollen may cause coughing. Another possible reason may be an infection in the respiratory system that ultimately triggers coughing episodes.
In some people, CVA may even be associated with taking beta-blockers, which are used to treat conditions like heart disease, heart failure, migraines, hypertension and abnormal heart rhythms.
People who have another allergic condition, regular asthma or a relative with asthma are at a higher risk for cough variant asthma. Other risk factors include being overweight, smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, and exposure to environmental or occupational irritants.
If cough variant asthma is not treated and managed properly, it may progress into classic asthma. According to a study published in Current Respiratory Medicine Reviews in 2011, 30 to 40 percent of adult patients with CVA, unless adequately treated, may progress to classic asthma .
Treatment for cough variant asthma is not difficult if the problem is diagnosed timely. Many simple and effective home remedies can provide relief from the dry cough and bring comfort.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for cough variant asthma.
1. Salt Water
Salt water is a good home remedy for alleviating irritation in the throat that accompanies constant coughing. Warm salt water also promotes healing of inflamed airways.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of warm water.
- Stir it until the salt mixes in properly.
- Gargle with this water 2 or 3 times a day.
Oregano is another effective remedy for treating the dry cough, the only symptom of CVA. This herb contains antispasmodic, antibacterial and expectorant properties that help clear mucus from the lungs and ease dry coughing.
- Drink 2 to 3 cups of oregano tea daily. To make the tea, steep 3 teaspoons of oregano in 1 cup of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain it, add honey to taste and drink it.
- Alternatively, consume 1 tablespoon of juice extracted from fresh oregano leaves a few times a day.
Honey is another very effective natural cure for CVA.
The sweetness of honey triggers your salivary glands to produce more saliva, which in turn lubricates your airways, easing your cough. It also has antioxidant properties that fight inflammation and boost immunity.
- Add 1 tablespoon of raw honey to a glass of warm water or milk and drink it slowly. Repeat a few times a day. This drink will have a soothing effect on the throat.
- Alternatively, mix equal quantities of honey, ginger juice, and pomegranate juice. Consume 1 tablespoon of this mixture 2 or 3 times a day.
- Before going to bed, consume 1 to 2 teaspoons of raw honey with a little cinnamon powder.
Ginger is a popular natural treatment for various ailments, including asthma as well as cough variant asthma.
Being an excellent expectorant, it can help reduce the intensity as well as the duration of coughing bouts. It also helps reduce airway inflammation and inhibit airway contraction.
Moreover, it has immune-boosting properties that promote a quick recovery.
- Cut fresh ginger into small slices and crush them slightly. Put them in a cup of water and bring it to a boil. Drink it 3 or 4 times a day.
- Another option is to chew fresh raw ginger on and off throughout the day.
Lemons can also be used to cure a dry cough, the most prominent symptom of cough variant asthma. Lemons have properties that reduce inflammation and also provide a dose of infection-fighting vitamin C.
In fact, vitamin C also helps reduce the histamines released in the body, which prevents excessive allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with 1 tablespoon of honey. Drink this healthy syrup several times a day.
- Another way to use lemons is to drink hot lemonade a few times a day.
Garlic is also effective when it comes to treatment of cough variant asthma. It acts as a natural expectorant, which helps provide quick relief from dry coughing.
Garlic also helps keep the air passages open and reduces the contraction of the airway muscles, which in turn promotes better breathing.
- Eat a clove of crushed garlic mixed with some honey 2 or 3 times a day.
- Also, add 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic to a pot of boiling water. Cover your head with a towel and inhale the vapor.
Turmeric can also be used to treat CVA. It has a therapeutic effect on coughs, particularly dry coughs. It also reduces inflammation in the airways, which aids the healing process.
Its immune-boosting property also helps your body fight infections.
- Roast turmeric root and grind it into a smooth powder. Mix 1 tablespoon of raw honey and ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder. Take it twice daily until you feel better.
- Another option is to drink a glass of warm milk mixed with ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder twice a day.
8. Say No to Smoking
Smoking is one of the known triggers for cough variant asthma. Smoking or breathing secondhand smoke irritates your lungs and can worsen coughs. Hence, it is highly recommended that you should quit smoking.
If you smoke cigarettes, quit immediately. At the same time, avoid secondhand smoke and make a strict rule for others not to smoke in your home or car.
Avoid public places that permit smoking and stay at a smoke-free hotel when traveling.
Not just cigarette smoke, you also need to avoid smoke that comes from incense, candles, fires, and fireworks.
9. Stay Away from Pollen and Other Irritants
A very common trigger for cough variant asthma is exposure to pollen. To reduce your coughing, you must pay attention to the air quality reports and avoid highly polluted areas that can worsen your condition.
- Use an air conditioner to reduce airborne pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds that finds its way indoors. Clean and replace air-conditioner filters on a regular basis.
- Keep your windows closed during the pollen season.
- Avoid living in a highly polluted area.
- Do your best to keep your house free from dust and dust mites. Vacuum your house twice a week.
- Wash all bedding and stuffed animals frequently in hot water.
10. Exercise Wisely
When suffering from cough variant asthma, vigorous or prolonged exercise is not a wise decision. But avoiding exercise is also not a good solution.
Physical activity is important, even for people with cough variant asthma. In fact, regular exercise can strengthen your immunity and help fight diseases.
Instead of following a vigorous workout plan, try yoga, easy biking, moderate-to-brisk walking, swimming and weight-training workouts.
You can also play sports like golf, baseball, swimming, gymnastics, tennis, and other racquet sports that involve short and intermittent periods of exertion.
Before doing any exercise, start with a warm-up period. Also, exercise inside when the pollen count is high.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can worsen asthma symptoms, and it puts you at higher risk of other health problems.
- Do breathing exercises to keep your asthma symptoms under control.
- Cover your nose and mouth before going outside when the pollen count is high.
- If you’re allergic to dander, avoid pets with fur or feathers.
- If you have pets, regularly bathe or groom them to reduce the amount of dander in your surroundings.
- Drink enough water to keep your body hydrated.
- Drink warm liquids, such as broth, tea or juice to soothe your throat.
- Suck on cough drops or hard candies to help ease a dry cough and soothe an irritated throat.
- Cover your nose and mouth whenever you cough or sneeze.
- Follow a diet high in vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, flavonoids, magnesium, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids.
1. Niimi A. Current Respiratory Medicine Reviews. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3182093/. Published February 2011.