A cough is usually associated with a number of habits, health conditions and upper respiratory tract infections, including the common cold, asthma, smoking and, of course, COVID-19. Even at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the three basic symptoms of this viral infection identified by the World Health Organization was a cough.
It was assumed around March 2020 that the cough associated with COVID-19 is dry, but subsequent research studies showed that some COVID-19 patients had a wet or phlegm-filled cough. A study published in The Lancet in July 2020, for example, came to the conclusion that many patients can develop a phlegmatic cough days after getting the infection, and even during hospitalization.
This means that a patient recovering from COVID-19 could have either a dry or a wet cough to deal with. Managing the cough, clearing it out properly and being able to breathe freely again is a big part of the recovery process that every COVID-19 patient has to go through. Maintaining a good COVID-19 recovery diet packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can surely help deal with the cough to some extent. Here are a few tips recommended by the UK’s National Health Service that can help you manage both types of cough as you recover from COVID-19.
Tips to manage a dry cough
A dry cough can put a lot of strain on your throat and make sleep next to impossible. Cover your mouth when you cough and wash your hands with soap and water frequently.
- Drink plenty of water, especially lukewarm water, throughout the day. Staying hydrated is absolutely essential. You can also drink warm water with lemon and honey, the Indian kadha, clear broths or soups.
- Swallowing may be difficult when you have a dry cough and inflammation, so take small sips of fluids instead of gulping them down.
- In case you don’t have any warm fluids nearby and your throat feels dry, swallow your saliva repeatedly to soothe your throat.
- Steam inhalation and gargling with saline water is a must if you want the dry cough to disappear quickly. Pour hot water in a bowl, put your head over the bowl, cover your head with a towel and breathe in the steam. You can also use a steam inhalation machine.
Tips to manage a wet cough
Having to spit out your cough and phlegm frequently makes a wet cough very difficult to handle. It’s important that you take every precaution and dispose of your cough safely to prevent the spread of the virus.
- Don’t lie on your back while sleeping or resting. Lie on either side with your head elevated on two-three pillows. This will help the cough drain out faster.
- Being sedentary will not exercise the lungs and drain out the cough faster. It’s important that you walk a bit around your room to clear out your chest.
- Drink plenty of warm and lukewarm fluids to loosen the mucus in your lungs and release the cough faster. Drink warm water, herbal tea, broths, soups, etc to facilitate this.
- Steam inhalation, when taken thrice or more during the day, also helps loosen the phlegm in the lungs and clear it out.
For more information, read our article on Complete Guide to Post-COVID-19 Care.
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