5 Ways To Shorten The Duration of A Lingering Cough

 “Evidence shows that environmental triggers like dust, perfumes, and other pollutants can greatly contribute to a chronic cough.” 
From COVID-19 to allergies, there are many reasons why you may be struggling with a lingering cough. While you may have already seen a doctor to get to the root cause of your affliction, there are several actions you can take right now to shorten the duration of your cough at home. From staying hydrated to gargling with salt water, these are the top five ways to ease a nagging cough.

Stay Hydrated 

Most people know that they should drink plenty of fluids if they’re battling a cold or flu, or struggling with a post-illness cough. But do you know why? If your cough is accompanied by mucus, drinking fluids will help to thin the mucus, making it easier for you to clear your airways. Illnesses that produce coughs, such as a virus, might also lead to a fever. When you have a fever, you will likely sweat profusely, which may lead to dehydration.1 In this case, increasing your liquid intake will help you to rehydrate.  

Inhale Steam

Inhaling steam is another way to reduce the severity of the cough by moisturizing dry and irritated nasal passages, loosening mucus, and easing throat pain. A 2020 study on patients with COVID-19, in which cough is a common symptom, found that steam inhalation greatly “reduced viral shedding” from infected patients and improved overall symptoms, including dry cough, headache, and sore throat.2 Steam inhalation therapy can be practiced with the help of a vaporizer or by simply holding your head over a bowl of boiling water with a towel draped over the back of your head.   

Use Cough Suppressants 

Cough suppressants are medications that bind to receptors in the cough center of the brain to suppress the cough reflex at its source. These medications allow your body to recover from the stress that persistent coughing causes. Common cough suppressants sold over the counter include dextromethorphan and diphenhydramine, which are often found in multi-symptom cold and flu medications. These medications should be used with caution as they are associated with many undesirable side effects, such as an upset stomach, drowsiness, dizziness, and dry mouth.3 Brillia Health’s Cough Control is another type of medication that can be used to reduce coughing. Its active ingredients include targeted antibodies that calm the cough reflex, reduce fluid buildup in the lungs, and ease inflammation that may be contributing to the cough. Brillia Health products are free of synthetic chemicals and are not associated with any harmful side effects or contraindications. The Mayo Clinic warns that OTC cold and cough medications may cause serious and even life-threatening side effects in children.4 However, Brillia Health Cough Control can be used by children three and up.
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Gargle Salt Water 

A simple salt water gargle can also help to shorten the duration of your cough by reducing the amount of mucus and phlegm at the back of the throat that may be contributing to the cough. A study out of Edinburgh found that salt water significantly reduced the duration of cold symptoms, including a reduction in coughing by 2.4 days, a blocked nose by 2.7 days, a runny nose by 1.8 days, and sneezing by 1.5 days.5

Avoid Irritants Such as Dust, Perfumes, or Pollutants

Studies indicate that people living in North America spend nearly 90 percent of their time indoors.6 Yet, the indoor air in homes and workplaces may contain a number of irritants. Evidence shows that environmental triggers like dust, perfumes, and other pollutants can greatly contribute to a chronic cough.7 You can reduce your exposure to such irritants by ensuring there is proper ventilation in the home, avoiding perfumes and strong-smelling air fresheners and cleaning products, and choosing hardwood flooring over carpeting.   Find more resources on managing cold and flu symptoms like coughing, congestion, and more at the Brillia Health blog.
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References: 1https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/syc-20354086, 2https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002432052031554X?via%3Dihub, 3https://www.drugs.com/mtm/dextromethorphan-diphenhydramine-and-phenylephrine.html, 4https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/in-depth/cold-remedies/art-20046403, 5https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6355924/, 6https://asthma.net/triggers/cigarette-smoke-pollutants-perfume-cleaning-products, 7https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6494656/

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