London Covid: Persistent cough after recovery and what the NHS says you can do about it
The effects on the respiratory system after Covid can be long-lasting, with many reporting a persistent cough for weeks or months after the infection clears. Although post-infectious coughs are common after any upper respiratory infection, they can cause pain and discomfort for those affected.
On March 28, it was reported that London hospital admissions of Covid patients were at their highest for almost two months. So here at MyLondon we’ve compiled the latest NHS guidance to help soothe your persistent cough.
The NHS says ‘while you are recovering from Covid you may continue to have a dry cough for some time’. This is because a cough – which is usually a reflex action to clear your lungs and trachea – becomes irritated by the excessive coughing, which eventually makes the cough worse.
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To help break this cycle, the NHS advises practicing “controlling your cough”. Although the NHS warns that it can be difficult to do this, using a combination of the techniques and continuing to practice them will be the most effective remedy for reducing your cough.
How do I control my dry cough?
Practice a “normal” breathing pattern – gentle, calm, diaphragmatic (belly breathing – feel the belly rise and fall as you inhale and exhale), nasal breathing at rest to begin with.
Close your mouth and swallow.
Inhale and exhale slowly through your nose until the urge to cough disappears.
Drink drinks (hot or cold) regularly.
Suck on hard candies or lozenges.
How can I relieve my wet cough?
Post-Covid, you may experience a wet or “productive” cough that feels quite chesty. Your airways and lungs work together to push mucus or phlegm up and out of your body. It is important to continue clearing secretions from your lungs to reduce the risk of recurrent lung infections and allow you to breathe more freely day to day.
- Make sure you are sitting upright and comfortably
- Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose and hold it up high for a count of three (if you can), then let it gently come out of your mouth. Repeat three to four times.
- Soft, relaxed breathing for 20-30 seconds
- Repeat steps two and three to three times
- Breathe out two to three times (Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, then exhale the air quickly through your mouth, keeping your throat open as if drinking from a mirror)
- Repeat this for three to four cycles
During recovery, the NHS also advises to stay well hydrated, take inhalers and prescription medication if you have them, stay active and try steam inhalation. However, if your cough persists and you did not need to be hospitalized during your Covid infection, you should seek advice from your GP.
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