Chronic Cough

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Having a chronic cough is one of the main symptoms of various respiratory conditions.

Sources of information and advice about chronic coughs

Cough - NHS Inform

Managing a cough - British Lung Foundation (BLF)

Cough and urinary incontinence - My lungs, my life

In contrast:

Cough caused by a virus - Patient info

Methods to reduce coughing

  • Breathing through your nose as much as you can, rather than your mouth can help. Try to build it up slowly so you are eventually using your nose all the time (except when talking). 
  • If you feel a cough coming on swallow hard, relax your shoulders and concentrate on breathing slowly and gently out.  
  • Retraining your breathing pattern. Develop good breathing habits by using your diaphragm, rather than muscles around your shoulders and neck to breathe.   
  • Using airway clearance techniques to help keep your airways clear. 
  • Try taking regular sips of water. This can help to keep your throat moist and reduce irritation. Carrying a water bottle with you can help with this.  
  • Sucking on a sweet can have a similar effect. This can be useful before talking on the phone/ for a long period of time. 
  • Some people find eating frozen pineapple chunks or frozen grapes can help with cough. 

Reference: University of Collage London Hospital, Respiratory Physiotherapy Chronic cough leaflet

Stop cough remedy

  • Try not to cough at all, but if a cough feels like it is to come then cough once only, with hand over mouth and with lips closed. 
  • Swallow once or sip some water 
  • Keeping lips closed, breathe out gently, pinch your nose closed and take a breath pause of 5-10 secs 
  • Continue to breathe gently with lips closed for about 15 seconds 
  • Repeat the breath pause 2-3 times, resisting the urge to cough. 

Reference: NHS Highland's Specialist Respiratory Physiotherapist


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