How to stop your nagging cough from nagging you!
Does this sound familiar: You feel like you’re getting over a winter cold, but that dry cough just won’t let up?
The carina may be to blame – and no, that’s not an old high school chum.
“The carina is a tiny node of nerve fibres where the trachea splits into the two lung fields,” explains Bryce Wylde, associate medical director of Toronto’s P3 Health and host of TV’s Wylde on Health. “When the carina gets irritated, whether it’s from a viral infection, a bacterial infection or just because you’re coughing a lot, it signals the brain to cough.”
The problem is, an irritated carina will continue to trigger that nagging cough – even if there is nothing there. “So ultimately,” says Wylde, “the more you cough, the more you cough because of this little node.”
At that point, says Wylde, you need to work to suppress the cough to get through your day and, more importantly, to get a good night’s rest.
Here are some ways to do just that.
Cough syrups & lozenges
A tried-and-true remedy for many is a cough syrup that contains dextromethorphan. Keep in mind that if you’re only dealing with a cough, you don’t need a remedy that treats multiple symptoms like congestion and headache.
Lozenges are also a good go-to, as the extra saliva you produce when sucking on the pastille helps soothe a nagging cough. With both syrups and lozenges, look for honey – a proven cough soother – on the ingredient list. Zinc is another ingredient to look for: It helps the immune system and prevents bacterial adhesion.
If you want to try the natural route first for your nagging cough, Wylde suggests green tea with a squeeze of lemon juice. It helps you stay hydrated, which is key to good health.
The fact that green tea also packs powerful antioxidants, such as EGCG, is a bonus, says Wylde. The squeeze of lemon adds the antioxidant limonene, a hit of vitamin C, along with bioflavonoids, which help the body better absorb that C.
Not a green tea fan? Wylde suggests a vitamin C tablet in a glass of water.