Post-Viral Coughs: Everything You Need to Know

post viral cough

Your body's immune system's primary method of disease defence is coughing. Coughing up strongly helps to clear your airways of irritants, excess mucus, and harmful bacteria.

Another typical sign of viral respiratory infections is a cough. This cough typically disappears shortly after you have fully recovered from the virus. However, occasionally your cough may linger even after you've recovered.

A post-viral or post-infectious cough is one that persists for more than three weeks following a viral respiratory illness.

Coughs are generally classified as productive (they produce mucus) or dry (they do not). Coughs caused by viruses can be productive or dry. A persistent cough of any kind can also cause the following symptoms:

+ Hoarseness
+ Sore or irritated throat
+ A lot of throat clearing

Post-viral coughs are usually the result of a viral respiratory infection, such as from the common cold, the flu= or from Covid-19. 

Experts aren't sure why viral respiratory infections can cause chronic coughing, but it could be related to the inflammatory response to infection that damages the lining of your airways, causing coughing or following an infection, the coughing reflex becomes more sensitive.

How is a post viral cough diagnosed?

If you are worried about your cough or aren't sure if it's caused by a recent illness, consult a doctor. The NHS advise that you should speak to your GP if:

+ You've had a cough for more than 3 weeks.
+ You're waking up at night coughing.
+ Your cough is changing for example coughing up blood or phlegm turning dirty.
+ Breathlessness is not improving.
+ You experience shortness of breath, breathing difficulties or chest pain.
+ You're worried about your symptoms
+ You're worried about long COVID symptoms in a child or young person under 18.

How do post-viral coughs get better?

Post-viral coughs typically resolve on their own. If you have had COVID-19, some studies suggest that some people are still experiencing a cough 12 months after the initial infection. Prescription medications can provide some relief. These include prescription inhalers which opens up your airways and prevents mucus accumulation and prescription oral or inhaled corticosteroids, which can reduce inflammation.

While you're recuperating, you should also try:

+ Consuming plenty of warm liquids, such as tea or soups.
+ Using a humidifier or taking a steamy shower to add moisture to the air around you.
+ Avoiding or protecting yourself from throat irritants, such as cigarette smoke.

You could also try a natural supplement. Our formula for Persistent Coughs was created using natural ingredients that were researched and developed by scientists. Our Persistent cough supplement contains the following natural ingredients:

An amino acid NAC has been shown to normalise mucous production and aid in the normalisation of inflamed lung cells, resulting in less coughing.

For centuries, ginger has been used to relieve coughs, and we now know that the main extracts known as gingerols are responsible for this effect.

Vitamin C (Sodium ascorbate) has been shown to help the lungs function normally in a variety of diseases.

If you are living with longer-term symptoms of COVID-19, you might need more help and support than you’re currently getting. Asthma + Lung UK have developed an online Long COVID Needs assessment form to help you understand your needs and get advice on what you should do next. They suggest that you can use your assessment results to help you explain your symptoms to your GP which could help to get referred to local support services, such as a Long COVID Clinic.

Find out more about our supplement to help with Persistent Coughs.

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