Unfortunately, I have caught the sickness that has been floating around campus. At least half
my floor already has it and the constant coughing in classes assures me that many more people on campus are sick. Starting as just a sore throat, I have developed a very heavy cough that is hard to avoid. Dayquil is helpful and the best solution has been to constantly sip water. Sipping the water keeps my throat from getting dry, which seems to be what causes the coughing. Problem is, I can only drink so much water at a time and the coughing eventually ensues. But this makes me wonder… Is there a correlation when someone is sick between coughing and the throat being dry? and how does coughing effect, if it does at all, a sickness?
Why do we cough?
Having to cough is probably one of the most annoying things there is, especially in class when you know your loud projections of infected air are distracting everyone in the room. Before this, I had no clue why we cough and usually tried to avoid doing it. This may not be the best thing to do because, according to WebMD, coughing happens to help the body get rid of foreign items such as dirt and mucus. This is among other things that can cause a person to continually cough. Even though coughing is generally intended to remove foreign things from the airways, it can also have negative consequences. A dry cough, among other types of coughing, irritates the lungs. When an individuals lungs become irritated, they cough even more. This creates a cycle where the coughing doesn’t stop and could get worse and worse as the lungs become more irritated. This “dry cough” might be an explanation to why the water helps to soothe the coughing.
If any of you have had this dry cough before, you may know that it can lead your throat to
become extremely sore. When you cough for other reasons, it is often because there is something in your throat such as foreign objects or mucus. But if there is nothing in your throat, the air is just pressing along the walls of your throat, irritating it even more. According to eMedicineHealth, as water goes down the throat, it breaks up the mucus that is sitting in the passageway. Since a cough is meant to remove things from the throat…. MUCUS… and the water breaks up that mucus. If the water breaks up that mucus, then you have to cough less. Therefore, water serves a similar purpose as coughing, or at least just assists the coughing. The water breaking up the mucus may help it to be removed from your throat when you cough, but, I often swallow after coughing and I feel like the mucus goes right back into my throat. So I believe the water serves the purpose of lubricating your throat so that the cough is not completely dry.
On a good note, I am starting to feel better- I started this blog 2 days ago. Using a mixture of fluids, sleep, cough drops, DayQuil, NightQuil, Ibuprofen, salt water, and nasal spray, the sickness seems to be almost over. While I do not know if this was the best combination of things, it did the job.
Feel free to comment how you have dealt with your sickness below.