The Lingering Cough and What You Can Do About It
People with annoying coughs seem to be everywhere at the moment. Next to us at a work, travelling next to us on the bus, climbing over our kiddies at day care and sometimes lying next to us in bed at night! Maybe it’s you constantly trying to suppress a frustrating cough that just won’t go away.
The colds around this year seem to be doozies. While the cold itself may pass within a week or two, in many cases the cold leaves behind an irritating cough that can hang around for 2-6 weeks. Generally these coughs tend to be dry and fitting, with very little phlegm or mucous, and can leave you sore in the chest and feeling exhausted.
In simple Traditional Chinese Medicine terms, getting a cold is the result of an attack by a ‘Wind-Cold’ pathogen (i.e. a viral/bacterial infection). As a result of the body’s ability to fight (that is, your Yang), the Wind-Cold is eventually expelled. However, if the body is weak and unable to expel it completely, a little of the Wind can remain lodged in the lungs leaving behind the annoying cough. Your body may need some help in getting rid of the last of the pathogen.
What can you do about it?
Rest, warmth and more rest. Take it easy and keep yourself rugged up (overdress!), staying out of the cold air, and take particular care to protect the neck, chest and upper back.
For simple symptomatic relief, try some fresh lemon tea with a dash of honey to lubricate the throat, and keep some room temperature water close at hand. Unfortunatley, over the counter cough syrups generally do little more than a glass of water to soothe the throat, so save yourself the money and turn on the tap!
For those who are strong and healthy, this may be enough, but if you’re still having trouble fighting it, Chinese medicine can offer relief in the form of herbs and acupuncture that will clear the residual “Wind” pathogen remaining in the lungs. The great news is that this is usually a short, targeted treatment and you’ll be back to normal in no time at all! Don’t put up with it any longer (you may like to forward your annoying coughing colleague a subtle copy of this post)!
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