A Professor of Medicine and Pulmonology, Cajetan Onyedum, has cautioned Nigerians against regular consumption of cough syrups noting that some of them contain substance abuse and toxic ingredients.
The Deputy Provost, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, made this known during the 181st inaugural lecture of the University of Nigeria Nsukka in Enugu State.
While delivering a lecture titled, ‘Doctor, I have ‘Normal’ Cough: An Exegesis of Normal and Abnormal Cough’, he said that cough, if not properly investigated, could lead to overconsumption of cough syrups and antibiotics with resultant side effects that include drowsiness, drug abuse and addictions.
Prof. Onyedum explained that cough is a natural body protective response mounted when mucus, germs, dust and other particles irritate someone’s throat and airways.
He advised people not to suppress cough reflex, stressing that coughing out sputum or phlegm should be encouraged as it removes what was inhaled, such as dust and excessive secretions built up in the airways.
“We must begin to review ourselves when we cough to ascertain if we just have a normal cough or a persistent one. Occasional cough may be normal, but a cough that persists is not and cannot be normal. The burden of cough both as symptom and disease is quite substantial and impacts negatively on the complete well-being of all,” he said.
The professor described acute and chronic cough as one that has lasted for more than three weeks and advised Nigerians to see a doctor if the symptoms persisted.
He explained that chronic cough is caused by smoking, chronic respiratory conditions like asthma, heart disease, lung cancer, tuberculosis, pneumonia and obstructive sleep apnea, amongst others.
Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor of UNN, Professor Charles Igwe, in his speech noted that inaugural lectures are regular events, adding that Prof. Onyedum’s lecture was special as it dealt with identifying normal coughs from abnormal ones.