Coughing is a symptom commonly neglected or shrugged off as minor discomfort. However, this notion often causes an acute cough to progress into a chronic one because of ill-advised practices and poor lifestyle habits.
Aside from taking the proper medicines for chesty cough, you also need to make lifestyle changes to prevent your cough from getting worse. Doing so can also help your body recover from illness. Among the things that you should avoid doing include:
1. Overeating Before Going to Bed
Many people suffer from a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD without knowing it. If you’re among those suffering from this condition, you might be making your cough worse by triggering acid reflux when eating too much before going to bed.
GERD is caused by the poor coordination between the relaxation and contraction action of the sphincter muscle. This causes the reflux of food and stomach acid to the esophagus. The acid irritates the throat, which leads to incessant coughing.
To avoid this, make sure you eat dinner early, with a minimum gap of two hours from your sleeping time.
2. Eating Cold Foods
Eating cold foods have also been known to trigger cough and colds. While scientists have yet to come up with a substantial study to prove it, statistics show that many patients reported eating ice cream or drinking cold drinks prior to suffering from cough and colds.
It is also believed that cold foods and beverages cause the respiratory lining to dry out, thereby making it more susceptible to infections and irritation that lead to a cough.
Because of this, you must try to avoid consuming cold foods and beverages when you have a cough — at least until you recover. Otherwise, you risk making it worse.
3. Drinking Too Much Coffee
Caffeine in coffee and other foods and drinks like chocolate and tea tend to cause water expulsion. As a diuretic, caffeine can dehydrate your body, which can be aggravating for cough and colds as it can lead to the production of thicker mucus and the weakening of the immune system.
4. Eating Too Many Dairy Products
While dairy products offer tons of benefits, they have been found to cause cough to become worse. This is because food and drinks made from dairy cause the body to produce more mucus, which irritates the throat.
Of course, you can still drink milk or eat dairy-based food for their vitamin D, calcium, and protein content after you recover from the cough. After all, vitamin D and protein help boost the body’s chances of winning the battle against infection. The key is limiting your consumption to avoid excessive mucus production.
5. Sleeping Flat on Your Back
Your sleeping posture is also crucial for your recovery from cough. If you tend to lie flat on your back, there’s a good chance that persistent night coughing will be triggered. This is because the phlegm and mucus gathered throughout the day tend to flow up, causing throat irritation.
When suffering from cough, make sure to position yourself in an incline when sleeping. You may also sleep on your side to help the phlegm settle and prevent coughing fits at night.
6. Eating Deep-Fried Food
Fried and oily food not only causes your waist to widen but can also make your cough worse. This is because deep-fried foods generate acrolein, a compound that acts as an allergen that causes itching in the throat.
Also, oil and fatty substances derived from animal products like omega-6 fatty acids and butter can increase mucus production, which, in turn, can exacerbate colds and flu.
7. Drinking Alcohol
Alcohol leads to inflammation and may cause your white blood cells to weaken. This will not only impede your recovery but may also intensify the symptoms of common colds and flu.
8. Working Too Much
Although it is uncommon for people to take time off of work due to cough, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a free pass at overworking yourself. Remember that coughing is a signal that your body is not at its optimal condition, so it is best to take it slow at work for faster recovery.
9. Consuming Too Many Sweets
Like alcohol, food with high sugar content can also trigger inflammation and leave your body vulnerable to illnesses because of a weakened immune system. While they may seem comforting when you’re stressed, the intake of candies, donuts, chocolates, cakes, and all other sweet foods should be reduced when you have a cold.
It’s All About Lifestyle
As you may have already noticed, certain lifestyle changes can do wonders for your cough.
If you haven’t already done so, be sure to take note of all these factors and understand how cough works so that you can work towards preventing a simple cough from becoming chronic.