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Taking care of a chronic cough during Covid-19 recovery

A person's nerves in the throat may also be damaged after a Covid-19 infection, resulting in a neuropathic cough

One of the most prevalent problems among persons who have recovered from Covid-19 is the cough that don't seem to go away.

Six months after infection, one in ten recovered Covid-19 patients experienced persisting symptoms such as a lingering cough and shortness of breath, according to a research headed by the National Centre for Infectious Diseases that began in January 2020.

Another research published in the journal titled Lung in June 2021 found that around 2.5% of 1,950 patients in Madrid, Spain, are still coughing a year after being infected with Covid-19.

So, how can a persistent cough be managed?

Covid-19 patients would tell Dr Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious diseases specialist at Rophi Clinic, that they needed to cough it out to clear phlegm or relieve the chronic itch in their throats.

However, he believes it is preferable to attempt to suppress the cough.

"If you cough non-stop, you will tear the insides of the throat and cause more coughing. Instead, try to suppress some of your cough. This will help your cough get better."

He goes on to say that recovered Covid-19 patients may have a persistent cough owing to sinusitis, gastric reflux, airway difficulties including asthma and bronchitis, and nerve irritation in the throat.

Dr. Leong recommends drinking extra water, using a sinus rinse, and inhaling steam for coughing induced by sinusitis. He advises anyone suffering from gastroesophageal reflux to avoid drinking coffee and consuming greasy, fatty, and spicy foods.

Patients who have recovered from Covid-19 who have pre-existing illnesses like as bronchitis or asthma are also vulnerable to a lingering cough.

Dr. Leong states: "With bronchitis, the airways can get choked up with secretion or one may have asthmatic tendencies which can trigger a chronic cough."

Post-viral bronchial hyper-reactivity syndrome can also occur after Covid-19 recovery, he notes.

"This means that the airways become very sensitive after a Covid-19 infection causing it to hyper react to triggers such as smoke, cold air and cold drinks, which may result in a prolonged cough," he says.

In such instances, he suggests that individuals drink extra warm water.

He claims that following a Covid-19 infection, nerves in the throat may be destroyed, resulting in a neuropathic cough.

"Being in chilly temperatures and ingesting spicy or acidic meals might also provoke such a cough," he says.

He recommends sipping honey with warm water to soothe the throat.

Finally, Dr. Leong urges individuals to contact a doctor to determine the reason of their cough and receive focused therapy. If required, a chest X-ray or scan may be performed, and medication may be administered.

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