Chronic coughs are typically the number one health hassle we take to our doctors in spring. The reason? Spending more time outside exposes us to airway-irritating pollen and mold. Now that most folks are fearful of COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to get stubborn coughs under control. These expert-proven tips can help…
COPD cough? Try an amino acid.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung condition that can make breathing a real chore — and can make coughing fits a daily hassle. Thankfully, a review of 11 studies suggests taking 600 mg. to 1,200 mg. of NAC (a healing amino acid) daily thins mucus, reduces phlegm formation and prevents airway swelling, cutting coughing for 60 percent of women. Note: Check with your doctor before taking supplements.
Cough from a cold? Try chocolate.
A simple cold can leave a cough that drags on for three weeks. To the rescue: dark chocolate! British research suggests 1 oz. of dark chocolate twice daily quells cold-triggered coughs 33 percent more effectively than prescription cough suppressants. Thanks goes to its throat-soothing compound (theobromine).
Reflux cough? Try slippery elm.
Half of folks with acid reflux suffer a bothersome cough after meals, when stomach acid touches throat nerves. A simple fix: a mug of slippery elm tea before each meal. University of Maryland researchers say this brew contains a compound (mucilage) that coats nerves, shielding them from acid.
Dry cough? Try iron.
Folks taking pressure-lowering ACE inhibitors often suffer dry coughs. But research suggests a daily 250-mg. dose of ferrous sulfate (or iron) can cut the cough in half. Explains cardiologist Sam Lee, M.D., correcting iron shortfalls reduces lung inflammation.
When to seek help.
When a cough is accompanied by symptoms such as a fever of 103°F, difficulty breathing, wheezing or thick greenish-, yellow- or pinktinged phlegm, Mayo Clinic experts advise that folks seek medical attention for proper tests and treatment.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.