Very few of us can say we’ve never once felt a dooming tickle in our throats a few days before vacation or been kept awake by a dry, scratchy cough on a night when sleep was needed most. This is a universal plight, but fortunately for us, many coughs and tickles can be prevented entirely. As the colder months come around, it’s easier to pick up a virus and hold onto it, but not all coughs are borne of sicknesses. Some may even arise in your home, from places you’d never expect–but these risk factors can be mitigated, and fast.
One of the very first ways to prevent coughing is by preventing germy contaminants from reaching your body. Washing your hands frequently, and for about twenty seconds, will accomplish this perfectly. This is especially important for those who work in a populated environment or for students who spend hours in a classroom, potentially touching dozens of infected surfaces–not to mention what could be floating through the air. Give your hands a thorough wash before you eat or touch your face and your lungs and throat will thank you.
Eliminate Hidden Household Irritants
Many HVAC professionals would agree that a sneaky cause of coughs and household allergies is a dirty furnace. According to City Energy Heating & Air Conditioning, if a furnace isn’t operating efficiently or cleaned properly, it will pump out warm air full of potential contaminants and irritants.
Those already suffering from allergies become even more miserable. A dirty furnace is often the culprit for causing coughs and sniffles in other family members. Make sure to clean your furnace and heating system each year to mitigate this issue.
Do laundry more regularly
Dust and dirt can also cause coughing, especially when it is found in sheets and blankets. This may be an especially prevalent issue if you or someone in your family has a dust mite sensitivity. A weekly wash in hot water will keep your sheets fresh and your lungs happy.
Check For Outside Irritants
There’s not much to be done about the allergens that come floating through the air with each new season, apart from taking antihistamines, but measures can be taken for irritants like mold and mildew. Check your gutters and roof for old, wet leaves and debris–they could be rotten and moldy, which can easily irritate our respiratory systems.
This cleaning practice can be done yearly, preferably before it gets too cold, or after spring and before winter.
If you find yourself coughing and sniffing more often than not, you may want to get tested for a seasonal allergy. In most cases, antihistamine drugs will nip the annoying cough but knowing what allergen causes it will help determine the best treatment plan. Many types of plant pollen are the perpetrators of seasonal allergies, though for some it is a more specific plant, or smell, as with fragrant flowers.
Medical Preventative Measures
Yearly vaccinations are another excellent way to prevent coughing and other symptoms of viral illnesses. Conveniently, these shots often come up during check-ups or other appointments, but if you have no other reason to visit your doctor you’ll still want to schedule influenza and Covid-19 shot.
Physiotherapists are known for assisting with more common musculoskeletal ailments, like carpal tunnel syndrome, for example. However, respiratory physiotherapy, also referred to as chest physiotherapy is a term used to describe techniques that help clear away secretions, expand the lungs and improve the ease of breathing.
Easy Preventative Measures Within The Home
Drink More Water
Along with keeping clean, staying hydrated is a good defense against coughs and sore throats. Water will help thin out phlegm and mucus in the throat, making breathing, swallowing, and even laughing much easier and less likely to cause a coughing fit.
High stress can also negatively affect our immune systems, making them weaker and leaving us more susceptible to a cold or an annoying cough. Though removing stress isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds, taking a few hours for yourself can benefit more than just your mental health. A whole day of rest is ideal, especially during periods of high activity and stress.
Ensure That Air is Pure And Moist
Damp, clean air can greatly improve sleep, breathing, and of course, prevent coughing and lung irritation. Purchasing an air purifier and humidifier may be an excellent option for those who struggle with nighttime coughing, especially in the drier winter months. Additionally, purer air will reduce airborne irritants and allergens that can creep in from outside or blow in with the heat. Placing a machine in your bedroom or your office can mitigate cough causes and create more pleasant air to breathe.
Coughing is a reaction caused by any one of a number of reasons. This can lead to the inflammation of the cells lining the upper airway. More often than not, a cough will disappear over time. If you’ve been coughing for an extended period of time, you may need to seek the advice of a health professional.
Defintely see a doctor when there is blood in your mucus, you’re wheezing and short of breath, or your cough is accompanied by a fever.