Yes! You were able to squeeze your way in into the elevator. You start to breathe in deeply when suddenly…
Your sigh of relief paused in mid-way as your eyes swiveled to the person next to you. With eyes watery and nose a little puffy, your neighbor lets out a long, chesty cough as a follow-up to the sneeze.
You just wish so hard that the doors will finally open.
Out in the Open
Instances like these cannot be avoided. Unless you’re a hermit and you do not venture out in public, the chances of you becoming exposed to people who have the colds, cough, or even the flu are quite high.
At the same time, not everyone is well-informed on how to prevent the spread of their cough to others either. Especially during flu season, a lot of people go around carrying the bacteria or virus. When they do not practice good hygiene, there is a good chance that the people they meet will catch whatever they have, too.
Cancel Out a Cough
Coughing is the body’s reflexive action of clearing irritants from a person’s airway. It is quite normal to cough once or twice a day to clear out a person’s air passage. However, some coughs become frequent. Prolonged coughing, usually lasting for four weeks in children or eight weeks in adults, is called chronic cough.
Coughs can also be dry or wet. Dry coughs do not expel mucus and other substances from the lungs. Persons with a dry cough feel a constant tickle at the back of their throats and have the constant urge to cough.
Conversely, wet coughs or chesty coughs expel phlegm or mucus. Respiratory tract infections, smoking, or air pollution can cause mucus buildup and forces the body to expel it through coughing. In these cases wherein infection occurs, phlegm in the airways becomes too sticky and can clog up the airways.
Common chesty cough symptoms include:
· Difficulty in breathing
· Chest feels congested, heavy, and/or tight
· Cough that is usually more pronounced in the mornings
· A rattling or wheezing sound especially when breathing in and coughing
· Persistent coughing that produces a sticky phlegm or mucus
To avoid getting a cough, here are five things that you can do to protect yourself:
1. Boost your immune system.
Get enough sleep and eat a healthy diet.
Stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water or fruit juice. It keeps the mucous membranes moist as well as helps thin out the mucus.
Apples, for example, contain high antioxidant levels that can help support your immune system.
2. Stay away from smoking and alcohol.
Smoking, smog, dust, and other air pollutants can cause further irritation. Even exposure to second-hand smoke can irritate the airways and cause chronic coughing.
Alcohol can leave your body dehydrated. This will make you feel even more congested and it may also react adversely with cough treatments that you are taking.
3. Dry air is a no-no.
Keep the air in the room healthy and moist by using a humidifier. Just remember to clean your humidifiers so they do not become a breeding ground for fungus and molds.
You can also take hot showers as the steam from the bath can help loosen the mucus.
Unclean hands can spread the germs to others. Some people still cough or sneeze into their hands instead of into a tissue. Contaminated hands can then also contaminate other objects like doorknobs, remote controls, and other surfaces. Used tissues should be disposed of properly in waste bins and not left lying around.
Encourage family members or friends with a cough to wash their hands with soap and water especially after coughing or sneezing on them. An alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can also do the job.
5. Stay away.
If someone you know is coughing caused by an infection, it is best to distance yourself while they are undergoing treatment.
Avoiding close contact with persons who suffer from an infectious respiratory disease can prevent the spread of germs. Coughing or sneezing can release airborne droplets that can pass the infection to other people.
According to new research from the Queensland University of Technology, there are some common disease-causing bacteria that can spread up to four meters and remain alive for up to 45 minutes.
Depending on the cause of a cough, it would be wise to practice good health habits so as to prevent a cough from spreading. Some types of a cough, such as a whooping cough, are highly contagious when tiny droplets are spread through coughing and sneezing. On the other hand, coughs caused by asthma, allergies, or irritation of the airways may not be contagious at all.
If and when a cough finds its way into your system, do not worry, as there are effective ways to find fast-acting relief. Chesty cough remedies that loosen phlegm, clear your airways, and prevent mucus from building up again are available. Expectorants that come in syrup form, 24-hour cough capsules, or convenient cough tablets can all provide the relief from a chesty, productive cough.
When the going gets tough with a cough, it is always wise to go to the doctor and find out the cause. This way, you can properly address and get the right treatment so you can be well on your way to a healthier, cough-free you.