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Health And Family

Not every cough is COVID

OOH LA LAI - Lai S. Reyes - The Philippine Star
Not every cough is COVID
The doctor is in: Dr. Gwen Agra, a pulmonologist

Ever since the pandemic started, I made it a point to lessen the number of times I would go out of the house for anything. My mantra is, if it is not necessary, then it’s not worth the exposure.

If I go out, I make sure that I am in full battle gear (face mask and face shield, PPE suit and gloves on), I always keep a safe distance and avoid  touching “high-touch” surfaces like doorknobs, ATM machines, grocery carts, escalator rails, or lift buttons. I’m also mindful of just how much I touch my face because that’s how we pick up the virus and other infections.

Call me paranoid but  you can never be too safe when you can’t see the enemy that is the coronavirus. And so, whether the entire country is under ECQ, GCQ or MECQ, don't  let your guard down and risk the lives of the people you care about and come in contact with.

Whoops...I did it again!

COVID-19 is a respiratory condition caused by the coronavirus. Some people are infected but don't notice any symptoms, while others have mild symptoms and get better on their own. Dry cough is one of the early symptoms of COVID-19.

Walk into a shop or restaurant…and cough. Everybody will surely notice and many will move away from you.

The stigma is real. Last Sunday, while doing the grocery, my throat got so itchy I coughed. So as not to get attention, I tried to hold my breath, which only made the coughing worse. In the corner of my eye, I saw about five people looking daggers at me as if I shoplifted.  It was so embarrassing as it was humiliating. And so, I ended up leaving my shopping cart as I looked for the nearest exit. I am quite sure that my story is only one in a million “pigil-hininga” moments that people have experienced all over the world. The only difference is that I have the power and the responsibility to inform. So let me start by setting the record straight: Not all coughs are COVID-related.

Reflex action

Before this pandemic, there were more than 100 distinct infectious diseases that might have explained that cough.

Right now, there seems to be only one disease — COVID-19. Has whooping cough disappeared from the planet? How about tuberculosis? The common cold?

According to Dr. Gwen Agra, a respected pulmonologist, a cough is an important reflex that helps protect the airways and lungs. Anything from fumes, dust, smoke, pollen, medication, or having a lung disease like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can send this reflex into active mode.

"The throat and airways are equipped with cough receptors as well as a thin layer of mucus that coats and protects the airways.

"When you inhale a trigger, your cough receptors recognize an intruder which gets stuck in the mucus lining your airways. Those cough receptors then send a message to your brain which sends a signal back to the muscles of your chest wall and abdomen to rapidly and forcefully take a deep breath in and out to remove the trigger," relates Dr. Agra.

Therefore, it's safe to say that an occasional cough is a normal and healthy function of the body. The moment it becomes persistent, that's when a visit to the doctor is advised.

Cough treatment

Most coughs would clear up within two weeks, if it doesn’t, then it could be a sign of a more serious health problem.

One of the most common causes of cough is a respiratory tract infection (RTI) like cold or flu and is usually caused by a virus. Infections caused by the flu may take a little longer to clear up and can sometimes require antibiotics.

Solmux Advance, an over-the-counter medicine, provides complimentary action against RTI addressing both sticky, hard-to-expel phlegm and lowered immunity when one is sick. It contains carbocisteine and zinc, a unique formulation that aids return to health in no time.

“Zinc is a nutrient that people need to stay healthy. It is found in cells throughout the body and helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. The body also needs zinc to make proteins and DNA, the genetic material in all cells,” Dr. Agra explains, “The body's immune system needs zinc to do its job. Older people and children who have low levels of zinc might have a higher risk of getting pneumonia and other infections.”

Carbocisteine has been recognized as an effective treatment for the management of COPD. Several studies also show that it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

“What carbocisteine does is make the phlegm less thick and sticky. By reducing the viscosity, the virus and bacteria will not cling to the cells thereby clearing the airway passage.”

Solmux Advance is the only carbocisteine with zinc in the market that is proven to give relief to patients by helping speed up their recovery from cough.

“A cough that’s the symptom of a more serious condition is unlikely to go away on its own. If left untreated, the condition could worsen and cause other symptoms,” warns Dr. Agra. And when symptoms persist, consult your doctor.

So what’s your #pigilhininga moment?

COVID-19
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