Treating coughs and preparing for Winter

Cooler temperatures and lower humidity create the perfect conditions for cold and flu viruses to survive and spread. Although annoying, colds and flus are self-limiting for many people but can leave behind a nagging cough that is harder to treat. We look at ways to manage the cough and a reminder to prepare for Winter.

Post-viral cough

A cough can be caused by infections (colds, bronchitis, flu, COVID-19), asthma, aspiration, medicines, diseases as well as more serious infections. If it lasts <3-weeks, symptom relief is the primary goal, but coughs lasting 8+weeks should be investigated to find the cause.

A post-viral cough is dry and unproductive, following an infection when the airways are still irritated. It can last between 3-8 weeks. Coughing fits can be triggered by cold air or drinks or:

  • A post-nasal drip of mucous from your nose onto the back of your throat when lying down.
  • Inflammation of the upper airways after an infection.
  • Underlying asthma.

To treat a post-viral cough, try honey drinks or sucking lozenges to soothe the throat. Cough suppressants may help, ask your Pharmacist which is best for you. In cold weather, warm the air around you warm with a scarf over your mouth and nose.

Boosting your immune system and a healthy lifestyle can help prevent you from getting a cold which leads to a cough. Eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and low-GI carbohydrates. Add in foods rich in zinc (fish), vitamin-C (oranges, red capsicums, kale, broccoli, strawberries), garlic and honey. Drink plenty of water, consider taking a probiotic and sleep well. Avoid smoking and excess alcohol but take the time to get active and enjoy some sunshine!

Flu vaccination

Flu vaccination is recommended to reduce your risk of getting really sick or spreading it to others who are more at risk. It is free for many people and available through your Pharmacist Vaccinator for adults over 13-years.



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