Losing that Lingering Winter Cough

Feeling better when the cough is stacked against you

Get rid of a dry, persistent, lingering cough!The aggravating, unrelenting common cold can be caused by a variety of viruses and can occur without warning anytime of the year. The onset and spread of the viral illness is more prevalent in the winter months because of the multitude of viruses that are known to thrive in the freezing weather. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of viruses believed to be responsible for the existence and yearly pandemic of the common cold. The symptoms include sore throat, runny nose or sinus congestion, a productive or nonproductive cough, and fatigue. A cold and its associated symptoms will usually last 7 -10 days, sometimes with a few lingering symptoms for another week. A cough can last longer, becoming persistent and resistant to the traditional treatments, leaving you feeling almost hopeless in your coughing nightmare.

A cough that brings up mucus is considered productive and shouldn’t be treated with medicine containing a cough suppressant. It is always best to see your primary physician when symptoms persist longer than 21 days. A cough that is dry and causes painful breathing is considered non-productive and should be evaluated by a medical professional. The doctor may suggest or prescribe from a slew of possible medications and treatments for the relentless cough, depending on the suspected cause. Follow all instructions to the letter and take any and all medication he or she prescribes, even if your symptoms subside, to prevent the reccurrence of the cough and cold. The only good news is that, since antibiotics won’t help the cold virus, they aren’t usually prescribed. Since 95% of all colds are viral in nature, the best your doctor can do is to treat the symptoms that are making you miserable.

You can try a few things to relieve the cough and ease the cold at home before it becomes a costly trip to the doctor’s office. Many home remedies are popular and offer inexpensive, safe, natural treatments for the symptoms of the common cough and cold. First and foremost, if you smoke, quit! That one is a no-brainer. If you continue to smoke after the onset of a persistent cough, you will have more problems to look forward in the future than the aggravation of a cough. A multitude of programs and aids can help you stop smoking. Next, avoid the possible causes of the cough, such as smog and air pollution. These irritants exist everywhere and avoiding them is seemingly impossible, so try to limit exposure to these irritants. Also, avoid pet dander, air fresheners, household cleaners, and pollen in flowers and on trees. Try to follow a healthy diet loaded with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, lean meats, fish, poultry, and skim or fat free dairy products. Avoid the foods that are high in trans-fat, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars.

Drinking warm tea with honey will help break up the mucus of a productive cough and will ease the pain of a sore throat. Also, stay hydrated with water and juices containing high Vitamin C content. Certain foods like garlic, peppermint, onion, and basil make great vapor breathing decongestants. Honey and ginger seem to be a very effective natural cough suppressant. Many other natural ingredients have shown positive effects on the symptoms of the common cold as well as the persistent cough. Experts say that this year’s cold and flu season will be especially nasty. Take the time now to be prepared and the cough won’t be stacked against you.