DURING the winter months it can seem like everyone around you has had a cough.
Now experts have revealed the real reason behind the long-lasting cough that many people suffer from.
The pesky disease is said to be due to people picking up one infection after another.
Medics from Imperial College London found lower and upper respiratory tract infection rates well above averages seen so far during the winter.
This is reflected in weekly data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which has found high rates of influenza and other respiratory viruses.
Professor Kamila Hawthorne, chair of the Royal College of GPs, added that infections are making the rounds longer than usual.
Prof Hawthorne stressed that most of the public have been socially isolating for two winters, which appears to have reduced their resilience to infection.
“This appears to make them more likely to catch infections than in previous years.
“So in some cases it can be about catching one infection after the other. They are all different and overcoming one type of infection does not give immunity to another.
“We would like to encourage patients to do everything in their power to stay comfortable this winter, including good public hygiene such as washing hands regularly or using hand gels when that is not possible and throwing away tissues after use . ”
The cost of living crisis and many people who cannot afford to heat their homes will also contribute to the rise in the disease, the expert added.
“It goes without saying that patients struggling to eat healthily, heat their homes or live in humid environments will impact their health – and the added financial stress will no doubt impact people’s mental health impact,” she said.
Another expert added that the increase in coughs could also be due to weather changes and the nature of certain viruses.
“We haven’t seen that much Covid, but it’s still there. And we also had infections like Strep A, where a lot of people came to us who had coughs but also had sore throats – mostly children, but also a lot of adults,” Dr. Asthma and Lung UK clinical director and general practitioner Andrew Whittamore said.
The 6 ways to relieve your cough
When you’re struggling with a cough, it seems like it never ends.
Professor Hawthorne said that in most cases, people who have a cough or a cold can recover without medical help.
The NHS said there are 6 tips you can try to help relieve a cough:
- Take acetaminophen regularly for any temperature, sore throat or ear pain
- stay warm
- get a lot of rest
- drink plenty of fluids
- Try hot lemon and honey
- a herbal medicine called pelargonium (suitable for people aged 12 and over)
“We want to encourage patients to understand that giving antibiotics doesn’t help with viral infections as they only help with bacterial infections,” said Prof. Hawthorne.
“Most upper respiratory tract infections are due to viruses.
“Pharmacists will also be able to offer advice on appropriate over-the-counter medicines that may help with symptoms but will not ‘cure’ the infection,” Prof Hawthorne added.
She added that if a cough is particularly persistent or a patient is producing discolored phlegm, has been severely aggravated by shortness of breath, or if a patient is experiencing chest pain or losing weight for no reason, they should see a doctor.
“Covid affects people in many different ways – some can develop lung scarring and fibrosis, which can cause a long-term cough.
“That’s why we’re telling anyone who’s still coughing four weeks after contracting Covid that they really should get a chest x-ray and get checked out,” he added.
He said anyone who has had a cough for about three to four weeks or more should seek help to rule out other illnesses as well.
“These controls allow us to detect lung cancer, Long Covid and so on,” he said.
It’s definitely worth contacting a GP about a persistent cough, as you may need a chest X-ray, he said.
“In many cases, it’s reassuring advice to just say, ‘Actually, the word is, it sounds like you’ve got a virus or another virus.’
“But sometimes these things need to be treated, sometimes they need to be checked out, and sometimes you pick up people who might have asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) because they’re wheezing, they get breathless, they get tight in the chest.
“It allows us to identify people who have these conditions that could make them even sicker,” he added.
https://www.the-sun.com/health/7160433/cause-nasty-hacking-cough-plaguing-brits-revealed/ Cause of nasty hacking cough that’s plaguing Brits revealed – 6 ways to ease it