Cough and colds can strike anywhere. This could be because of the weather, environmental irritants, and unhealthy habits. The spread of germs that can cause cough can be prevented if people will just cover their mouth, for starters.
The ABC’s of Cough
Coughing is the body’s reflex reaction for expelling irritants in the airways. Irritants such as air pollution, paint fumes, strong scents, or smoke can cause people to cough. However, when coughing becomes persistent, then it may be a sign of an underlying illness.
Coughs can also be caused by allergens. These can be dust, mold, pollen, or pet dander. These allergens can also trigger coughing and can come with several symptoms such as itchy and watery eyes and nose and sneezing. It can also depend on what season it is especially for people who are allergic to pollen.
Coughs may also be due to medical conditions such as the common cold, flu, pneumonia, or whooping cough. These are the common causes of coughs that last for less than three weeks.
Coughs lasting for more than eight weeks may be caused by asthma, acid reflux, or post-nasal drip. In addition, other diseases such as chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer or other respiratory infections, or heart failure may also cause a person to cough for over eight weeks.
The best way to get rid of cough fast is to determine its cause. Since no cough is the same, it is best to see a doctor as soon as you can so you are not left to wonder what you are coughing away. Coughs differ in terms of duration, types, features of the cough, and their accompanying symptoms.
Cover Your Mouth
Medical institutions and centers for disease information and management around the world are consistently promoting and spreading awareness on how to stop the spread of infection caused by cough, colds, and flu.
The simple act of covering your mouth when you cough is already a step towards preventing others from catching whatever bacteria or virus you have that may cause them to get infected as well.
Here are some other practices that everyone should observe to avoid and prevent the spread of cough:
1. Avoid contact
When you are down with the cough, make sure that you avoid or limit human contact as much as possible. This will help lessen the chances of you spreading germs to others.
Ask to be excused from school or work. Also, avoid scheduling or going to meetings or gatherings where there are a lot of people to stop spreading germs. Stay at home so you can contain the illness and avoid coughing around other people. Use this time to rest and get plenty of sleep so your body can recharge and heal
2. Don’t touch your eyes, nose, and mouth
Fluids from your eyes, nose, or mouth can cause the spread of illness. Persons who touch contaminated objects are also more likely to get sick.
To avoid contaminating objects or contracting coughs, colds, or the flu, avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you are suffering from cough, avoid touching these parts of your body, especially since you can transmit the disease by touching objects that other people will also get in contact with.
At home, this means avoiding directly touching doorknobs, faucets or tap handles, computer keyboards, and other similar items. It is advisable that you avoid using your hands to cover your mouth. Instead, use your sleeve or a tissue and dispose of the tissue properly. It is also crucial that you wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
If you have colds or if someone in your household is sick, make sure that you disinfect common or shared items such as the remote control, doorknobs, or other frequently touched surfaces. If you are sick and alone, you can also call for help and avail yourself of home cleaning services. Professional cleaners will be able to efficiently clean and disinfect your home while you recuperate
3. Eat nutritious food
The body can feel weak when cough attacks, so it is best to supplement it with healthy food and beverages.
The power food group includes chicken soup, ginger, honey, thyme, and slippery elm. Food rich in bromelain, such as pineapples, are also good since bromelain has anti-inflammatory and mucolytic properties.
Dark green, red, and yellow-colored fruits and vegetables are also encouraged because they are rich in phytochemicals. Apples, cranberries, and sweet potatoes are also good for fighting cough and colds.
Immune boosting beverages such as orange juice or a banana-kale-spinach smoothie will also alleviate the discomfort of having a cough or colds. Soups that are naturally rich in probiotics can also help such as miso soup and kimchi soup. Teas are also favorable as well as good old plain water.
To help prevent getting colds, it is also advisable to keep the body fit and healthy by engaging in some physical activities. Exercise can help keep the immune system strong and able to fight disease-causing germs.
While there are contrasting opinions about exercise while there is cough, moderate exercise may be done as long as the symptoms are above the neck – runny nose, sore throat, or sneezing. However, caution is advised if the symptoms are below the neck, such as having diarrhea, fever, muscle aches, productive cough, upset stomach, and vomiting.
5. Get vaccinated
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, getting vaccinated is the single best way to protect one’s self from seasonal flu. Getting the flu vaccine can:
- Keep you from getting sick with the flu.
- Reduce the risk of flu-related hospitalization for children and adults.
- Help avert serious medical situations related to chronic conditions.
- Aid in protecting women during and after pregnancy.
- Significantly decrease a child’s risk of dying from the flu.
- Reduce the severity of illness in people who were already vaccinated but got sick.
- Help protect other people around you especially vulnerable ones like babies, the elderly, and those suffering from chronic diseases.
Chasing Out the Cough
It is wise to know the cause and kind of cough that you have so you know what steps to take next. You should be aware of the basics of coughing, and be sure to consult a doctor to properly diagnose your ailment in case you have a persistent cough.
Be vigilant about your health and make sure that you are protected from cough, colds, and flu. At the same time, follow the steps mentioned above to keep yourself healthy and your immune system fortified.