It is harmattan season and my best season too. However, it doesn’t pass without a bout of cough and catarrh. Cough is part of the body’s natural defense mechanism to expel irritants gaining entrance into the respiratory linings, prolonged or severe coughing can be a symptom of a different problem.
The biggest challenge in preventing the transmission of cough and determining how long it racks our body is in knowing the ways in which it spreads. Dr. Gyanshankar Mishra, a renowned pulmonologist practicing in Nagpur in an article on Thehealthsite.com advises people to cover their nose and mouth with their elbows as opposed to the norm I have always known which is to cough or sneeze into a handkerchief or toilet toll or my hand. As if that wasn’t enough, Dr Mandar Kubal, director at the Infectious Disease Pulmonary Care opines that when you cough into a handkerchief , you should wash it immediately except you have another one which you use for your face and used tissue papers should be disposed of immediately too. We should always avoid touching surfaces immediately after coughing when we haven’t washed our hands. We know these things right, but rarely apply it.
The ideal way to treat a cough is to rest and avoid contact with people but we are not in an ideal world. It will be impossible for one on the road to stop and wash hands every time he coughs. Perhaps the best option will be to cough into our elbows sleeves, thereby limiting the spread of the cough with our palms and rubbing our faces with it too. A persistent cough I had necessitated the need for this research and when I started coughing into my elbow sleeves and took a home made mixture of green tea, garlic mixed with some drops of lemon twice a day, the cough stopped. I went ahead to teach my eldest kids and today, I observed my boy coughing into his elbow sleeves. I allowed myself enjoy a moment of pride.
Immediate treatment should be administered for cough. Always remember to visit a doctor if the cough persists after treatment.
Stay safe this harmattan season!