You don’t have to grin and bear an annoying bout of hacking after a cola. Experts are reevaluating how to treat a cough, and their advice may surprise you.
Skip some old standbys The American College of Chest Physicians has determined that decongestants like Suda fed or an antihistamine (Benadryl for instance) are better choices for coughs that arise from a cold, sinus infection, or allergies as they dry up the drainage. A vapourizer may help you sleep, and hard candy or lozenges can help relieve a lingering throat tickle. If you’re hacking up mucous or are short of breath, see your doctor — you may have a serious infection e.g. bronchitis and need a prescription.
Try a reflux remedy A dry cough can be a sign of acid reflux, a common stomach disorder. It’s often the worst symptom, says Pramod Kelkar, MD, chair of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology’s cough committee. The cough usually appears after a meal or at night. Your doctor may prescribe a 4- to 6-week course of proton pump inhibitors. Avoid eating
a meal near bedtime.
Find out if its asthma A cough may be the only symptom of asthma, Kelkar says, and allergies often set seasonal. If your doctor thinks it’s asthma, he may prescribe an inhaler.
Swallow the urge If you cough during pauses in conversation, try breathing deeply or just counting to 10 (or discreetly telling a coughing coworker about these tricks). Kelkar says the habit should go away eventually.