Vim & Vigor - Winter 2019 - GMC - 21

esophagus; when they lie down, acid
from the stomach can trickle into the
esophagus, triggering a reaction that
causes a cough.
The solution? Eat earlier in the
evening, avoid foods that can cause
indigestion and raise the head of
your bed, or at least prop yourself up
with pillows.
Also, coughs from asthma are often
worse at night, Rizzo says.
IS MY COUGH WET OR DRY?
"A moist cough [which brings up
mucus] tends to indicate inflammation," Rizzo says. A viral or bacterial infection, or an allergic reaction
with postnasal drainage, can lead to a
wet cough.
It might sound gross, but take note
of your mucus. Is it clear, white, yellow or discolored? Is it thick or thin?
These clues can help your doctor
diagnose the cause.
For a wet cough with other symptoms, like fever, shortness of breath,
chest discomfort or wheezing, see
your primary care physician or visit
urgent care. You might need a prescription medication, an inhaled
medicine for wheezing or a chest
X-ray to look for signs of bronchitis
or pneumonia.
A dry cough could stem from a
viral infection, or it could be a sign
of an airway irritation. Bad air quality, including exposure to airborne
irritants at work, can lead to a dry
cough. So can allergic rhinitis,
asthma, chronic bronchitis or irritation in the gastrointestinal tract.
A dry cough with cold symptoms
tends to be a sign of a viral-not
bacterial-infection, Rizzo says. So
rest and fluids are the main treatment options.
A notable viral exception: If you
think your cough might be a sign
of the flu, talk to your doctor right

CALM
YOUR
COUGH
When you suddenly feel a
dreaded tickle in your throat,
it's not the time to gamble with
remedies. You want something
that will work-and fast. Your
first option may be over-thecounter cough medicines, but
do they really help? "In theory,
these medicines are supposed
to work by soothing soreness
and making mucus thinner,"
says Alysha Jaffer, PA, a provider at ChoiceOne Urgent
Care, a partner of Northside
Hospital. "But most of them
fall short when it comes to
actually alleviating a cough."
Instead, try over-the-counter
antihistamines if your cough
stems from allergies or postnasal drip, and take ibuprofen
to reduce inflammation in
the airway.
"Lastly, don't overlook home
remedies," Jaffer says. "Tea
with honey, chicken noodle
soup, a neti pot and a saline
nasal spray can all help you to
find relief."

APPOINTMENTS

Care for
Your Cough
From your first cold of the
season to fighting off the
flu, Northside Hospital's
urgent care centers are
prepared to care for all of
your winter health needs.
Use our convenient online
check-in at northside.
com/emergencyservices.

away. You might be able to take
a medication that can help you
recover more quickly and help limit
the likelihood of spreading the flu
to other people.
A persistent dry cough could be a
sign of asthma, so your doctor may
review any history of allergies and
recommend breathing tests.
Head to the emergency department if you are coughing up blood
or you are experiencing shortness
of breath along with your cough.
IS MY COUGH WORSE WHEN
I'M OUTSIDE?
Rizzo points to three suspects that
might trigger outdoor coughs:
3 Bad air quality
3 Seasonal allergic reactions to
pollens and molds
3 Exercise-induced asthma (when
you're breathing more rapidly from
exercise, your airways might be
sensitive enough to cough, but you
might not wheeze)
Rizzo says it's important to tune
into your triggers. The more you
know about your cough, the more
you can help your doctor identify
its cause, run appropriate tests and
prescribe medications.
He says most coughs that stem
from infection, exposure or allergies last two to four weeks. They
might need medication, but they
tend to resolve.
For coughs that linger for more
than eight weeks, you might need
a more thorough investigation.
Chronic coughs might stem from
asthma, bronchitis, sinus problems
or gastrointestinal issues. There
could also be more serious underlying issues, such as pneumonia or
cancer. But before you worry, talk
to your doctor-a cough can be
many things, and there are treatments to help you feel better. ■

WINTE R 2019

21


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Vim & Vigor - Winter 2019 - GMC

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Winter 2019 - GMC

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Vim & Vigor - Winter 2019 - GMC - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2019 - GMC - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2019 - GMC - Contents
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Vim & Vigor - Winter 2019 - GMC - Cover3
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2019 - GMC - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/manifest/vimvigor_2020summer-gmc
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/mcmurry/vimvigor_2011winter-gmc
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/mcmurry/vimvigor_2011fall-gmc
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