5 Ways to Get Rid of Your Lingering CoughLisa Kilgour, Nutritionist
January 22, 2019
So, you caught that stubborn cold that’s going around your office. You’ve gotten lots of sleep, drank lots of fluids, and binged on lots and lots of Netflix.
You’re feeling SO much better now…except for that annoying, hacking, lingering cough.
That annoying cough may be frustrating, but it’s also very common. Approximately ¼ of us will suffer from a lingering cough after a virus1.
Why won’t my cough go away?
The truth is, we don’t really know for sure, but it’s probably due to some excess inflammation2, otherwise known as bronchitis.
Inflammation isn’t just that painful knee or skin eruption, it’s also an important healing mechanism. Our body triggers inflammation anytime there are cells or tissues that need healing, and it brings warmth, nutrients, and immune cells to that area.
When a virus or bacteria decide to take up residence in our lungs, our body needs to send in its immune army along with some helpful inflammation to get that infection outta there.
We feel the effect of our immune response through all of those annoying cold symptoms – the achiness, tiredness, sneezing, and coughing.
Our cough reflex is a perfect solution to clear out and open our airways. But, sometimes, it can take a bit of extra time for our body to fully clear out the inflammation
Or, it’s your runny nose that’s triggering your cough. As your sinuses clear themselves out, some of that mucous can roll down your throat and into your lungs.
Post-nasal drip is a very common cause of an extra long chronic cough, so common it’s now called Upper Airway Cough Syndrome3.
How long do coughs last?
Most coughs take their leave soon after your cold hits the road, but some can stick around for a lot longer.
A cough that comes with a cold is considered an acute cough and one that lasts 3 – 8 weeks known as a sub-acute cough. A cough that lasts longer than 8 weeks is considered a chronic cough, and it’s a good idea to head over to your GP to rule out anything sinister (although usually, it’s nothing to worry about).
If you have a cough that’s outstayed it’s welcome, it’s time to bring in some lung support!
5 Ways to Heal Your Chronic Cough
- Stay Hydrated
I know, I know, I’m not the first nutritionist to tell you to drink more water, but it can help to kick that cough to the curb. Being fully hydrated can help to thin out that thick mucous you’re coughing up, making it easier to clear it out.
If you struggle a lot with drinking water, try adding some electrolytes. They make the water taste less, well watery, and they help you absorb more out of every sip. Easy electrolyte additions are coconut water, electrolyte powders, or just add a pinch of sea salt. Every mouthful of water counts!
- Fight Inflammation with Turmeric
Sometimes our body needs a bit of help to clean out all the inflammation after the cold has left your lungs. Whole turmeric root has been used for millennia to remove excess inflammation in the body.A super easy way is to switch out your regular protein powder for a scoop of Perfect Protein Elevated Anti-Inflammatory. Your morning smoothie will get an extra boost turmeric, ginger, and moringa. Or, if you prefer a warm mug of loveliness on a cold day, try my favorite; a mug of Chocolate Turmeric Golden Mylk.
A therapeutic dose of turmeric is at least 1000mg per serving. Be sure to check the dosage of your favorite turmeric supplement, you need more than just a sprinkle to feel the benefits.Chocolate Golden Mylk gives you 1000mg of turmeric and a whopping 1500mg per serving is in the Perfect Protein Elevated Anti-Inflammatory! Plus, an extra 500mg of ginger and 1000mg of moringa. These products easily give you that important therapeutic dose.
- Make Life More Tropical
Dry air can irritate our airways and a humidifier can feel so darn good in our dry overheated homes. The extra moisture in the air can soothe your lungs and help to unclog your nose too.
- Clear Your Sinuses
If your runny nose is causing your cough, an easy way to clear out your sinuses is with a neti pot. It can even deflate your baggy eyes too! They can take a bit of practice to get used to, but you’ll quickly clear out that post-nasal drip and you’ll breathe better!We’ve still got a few months left of the cold and flu season, so be sure to have your favorite cold and flu fighters on hand to prevent another bout. My favorites are elderberry, manuka honey, and I always have my handy-dandy neti pot on hand.
 Hayes, K. (2018). What a Lingering Cough After a Cold Means. Retrieved from https://www.verywellhealth.com/treatments-for-lingering-cough-4107545
 Boulet L,P., Milot J., Boutet M., St Georges F., Laviolette M. (1994). Airway inflammation in nonasthmatic subjects with chronic cough. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 482-489. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8306050
 Li Y., Xianghuai X., Hanjing L., Zhongmin Q. (2015). Advances in upper airway cough syndrome. The Kaohsiung Journal of Medical Sciences, 31:5, 223-228. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1607551X15000212