Salt Water Can Silence Your Cough

Salt Water Can Silence Your Cough
There are a staggering number of different cold viruses that can attack us - and our body cannot produce adequate defences to tackle each one. Colds are a predictable part of our lives - 90 per cent of us have at least one each year, with the average person battling two or three annually.

There are a staggering number of different cold viruses that can attack us - and our body cannot produce adequate defences to tackle each one.

These viruses attack the nose, sinuses, throat, and upper parts of the lungs. If any cold persists for more than 14 days, it is reasonable to assume that the virus has triggered sinusitis, or swelling in the sinuses - the air-filled passages behind the face.

The symptoms of this are a blocked nose that still runs, facial pain or pressure, cough, tiredness and sometimes fever. Some patients suffer from a persistent dry cough, such as your husband’s. This is caused by dripping from the sinuses into the throat, causing irritation.

Any cough that persists for longer than three weeks should warrant a trip to the GP to rule out anything more sinister (I was reassured to read that your husband’s X-ray showed healthy lungs).

Why sinusitis occurs after a cold is unclear, but those who are prone to allergies may be more likely to develop inflamed sinuses, though a direct causal link has not been proven.

As you have discovered, cough medicines are of little value, because they do nothing to prevent the drip of mucus.

For this you need prescription steroids, in the form of a spray or drops, to calm the inflammation in the sinuses.

A useful addition to these may be a saline lavage - also known as a salt water sniff. .

This can further reduce inflammation and can be made with kitchen ingredients: mix a level teaspoon of salt with a similar amount of baking powder in a pint of water and keep in a suitable container in the fridge.

Place a puddle of this mixture in the palm of the hand, and snort up the nose. Doing this twice daily may lessen the symptoms.

Some people even find that this works alone, before needing to go to the GP for steroids. But if after a week or two the persistent cough continues, then steroids will be required.

The steroid nasal spray or drops should be used after the salt water sniff, and your husband may require two or three weeks of this routine to settle the cough.

If the symptoms persist for more than 12 weeks, then this is classified as chronic rhinosinusitis, and referral to a specialist may be needed.

—Dailymail London
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