Cough has been one of the prominent symptoms of COVID-19. With the arrival of the new coronavirus variant Omicron, even more of us are coughing. An investigation out of Norway, which was published last year in December in the journal Euro surveillance, studied a group of people, most of them were vaccinated. The group got infected by omicron at a company Christmas party, and it was learned that 83 percent of the lot had a cough.
Omicron appears to replicate rapidly in the bronchi, which are the two large tubes that bring air from the windpipe to the lungs. A December 2021 study, done by the LKS Faculty of Medicine at The University of Hong Kong, reported that omicron multiplies in the airways 70 times faster as compared to the delta and the original virus.
In a chat with Everyday Health, MD, PhD William Checkley, who is an associate professor in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, stated that a COVID-19 cough is not unique. According to the expert, it is similar to the cough produced from other viral or bacterial pneumonias. MD Donna Klitzman, who is a clinical care physician at New Jersey’s Pulmonary Intensive Care Specialists agreed that patients cannot be diagnosed by just listening to their cough. She opined that nowadays patients who land up in hospitals are usually people who have not been vaccinated. “A painful, dry cough accompanied by lower-than-normal oxygen levels (hypoxia) is a sign of trouble,” she said.
How To Treat This COVID-19 Cough?
Klitzman shared that patients can treat a cough, while they are recovering from COVID-19 at home. “It can help to elevate yourself when sleeping by slipping a wedge under your pillow,” says Klitzman. She added that cough suppressants — ‘antitussives’ and cough suppressants with codeine taken before bed can be very helpful. However, she warned that one should not become reliant on it.
People who are off prescription cough medicine can drink lots of herbal tea and take lozenges, according to the expert.
Klitzman pointed out that the best way to ease a symptom of any illness is to treat the underlying disease. Hence, if anyone has mild COVID-19 and is at high risk for becoming severely ill, they should take antiviral pills and certain monoclonal antibody infusions which might help in healing — which means less coughing.