How to Calm a Coughing Attack
The changing of the seasons is upon us and while that may not be very apparent to us Southern Californians, it’s definitely happening everywhere else! And what happens when seasons change beside the lovely new exciting things? SICKNESS. Yes, unfortunately, when the seasons change, the weather changes, and our bodies just get all darn confused! It could be the flu, a cold…whatever our lowered immune system decides to let in. With those nasty sicknesses, comes the dreaded, lingering cough. This cough is wet and deep at first, but then, as your sickness dries up or gets better, it turns into a dry cough. Then you’re that person coughing over and over in class or in the office and you have deep circles under your eyes because it wakes you up.
Fight it! Don’t fall into the trap of coughing over and over until you feel you’re like you’re going to throw up or you want to die. My dad was always strict on us about coughing. He would hear us cough as kids and yell out, “Drink some water!” Although persistent, this did create a good habit and foundation for being able to beat the deadly cycle of the cough. I’m very adverse to the constant cough so I did some research about why this happens and why we have coughing attacks. Here’s a quote from the Pennsylvania Academy of Otolaryngology:
“Cough cycle related cough is manifested by persistent dry, nonproductive cough, which is initiated by a sensation of a tickle in the throat. The cough response creates an irritation in the cough centers of the throat and creates the tickle for the next coughing.”
So really when you feel that tickle and you give into it, you’re creating the harshest cycle for yourself. However, if you have some determination, willpower, and fear of the cough, there are some steps to taming it. Here’s how to calm a coughing attack:
1. Make sure you always have water nearby. Whether that means carrying around a canteen or just having water at your desk, make sure you have it! This is good for emergencies when you have no choice but to cough–drown it in water!
2. Find some willpower. When you feel that itch in the back of your throat, you are going to need every shred of willpower to fight it. Just like scratching a bite, it seems like it will help you, but in the end it hurts you. Do not give in and cough!
3. Bring it back to a meditation. Gathering your willpower, close your eyes and take a slow breath. We’re not going to really do deep breathing, because that will definitely trigger that itch. Close your eyes and find that calm.
4. Gentle, shallow breaths. When I say shallow, I don’t mean hyperventilate. Your eyes closed, focusing on being calm, breathe gently through your nose and out. If you breathe in too hard to deeply, you’re going to trigger the itch. You want to use your breathing as a tool to calm the itch. Almost like gathering the air and blowing the itch away. Very gentle, just inhale and exhale. You should almost not be able to hear that.
5. Drink water. Once you’ve defeated the itch, wash it down with some water. This will soothe your throat and also prevent any incoming coughing attacks.
I hope this can help you through the flu and cold season! It certainly takes a lot of practice, so please don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t help right away. Just keep trying! I swear it works and I’ve defeated many a cough attack and indeed ended the dry cough spell early. Make sure you do this practice to get healthy so you can be hungry and fit!
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