A cough is probably one of the most neglected symptoms that many people suffer from. Most of the times, an acute cough progresses to become chronic before people realise it. Unfortunately, this most often happens because people follow ill advised practices that worsen the cough. If you want to prevent your cough from worsening, start taking these these precautions and you’ll be amazed with the improvement:
- Avoid eating cold foods:According to Dr Pradip Shah, consultant physician, Fortis Hospital, Mulund, a common cold and cough triggered by cold food items like ice-cream and cold drinks is a common complain of people visiting local health clinics. Although there is no scientific evidence as to how cold food items trigger and worsen coughs, patients are normally advised to avoid them altogether until they recover completely. One sensible explanation for this would be that cold beverages and foods cause a drying out of the respiratory lining making it susceptible to infections and triggering coughing due to irritation.
- Avoid overeating at night:Having a heavy dinner at night or overeating can be a cough trigger for people suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). People with GERD may have poor coordination between contraction and relaxation of the sphincter muscle that prevents reflux of food to the esophagus. As a result, the stomach acid can flow back to the food pipe, causing irritation of the lining to trigger cough. So, it’s better to have an early dinner and maintain a gap of at least 2 hours between dinner and sleeping time.
- Avoid sleeping flat on the back:Sleeping posture plays an important role in triggering coughing at night, especially if you have a productive cough. All the mucus and phlegm that gets collected throughout the day, flows up to irritate the throat when you lie down on your back. Instead, sleeping in an inclined posture, or sleeping on the sides will keep the phlegm settled and avoid bouts of coughing at night.
- Avoid eating fried foods:Fried foods are oily in nature and oil is a well-known cough trigger. Deep-frying foods in hot oil generates a compound called acrolein, which acts as an allergen that aggravates coughing and causes throat itching. So, it’s best to avoid oily, fried foods while you have a cough.
- Avoid smoking:Smoking is one of the causes of a cough due to bronchitis. Not only does it irritate the throat lining, but it also delays recovery and increases your risk of cancer. If you don’t smoke, remember second-hand smoke is equally dangerous.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages:Caffeine should be avoided by those who cough due to acidity and GERD. While it may provide temporary relief from a coughing bout, it actually causes the esophageal sphincter to become loose, allowing more acid to get flushed into the esophagus.
- Avoid over-exertion: Nobody takes an off from work because of a cough, but that doesn’t mean you should exert yourself by overworking. Coughing is an indication that something is wrong with your body, so make it a point to get adequate rest to give your immune system enough time to recover.