Coughing is one of the prominent symptoms of COVID-19. With the arrival of the new coronavirus variant Omicron, even more of us are coughing. A study from Norway, published last December in the journal Euro surveillance, studied a group of people, most of them vaccinated. The group became infected with ommicron at a company Christmas party and it was learned that 83 percent of the group was coughing.
Omicron seems to multiply rapidly in the bronchi, the two large tubes that carry air from the windpipe to the lungs. A December 2021 study conducted by the LKS Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong reported that omicron multiplies 70 times faster in the respiratory tract compared to the delta and the parent virus.
Speaking to Everyday Health, MD, PhD William Checkley, an associate professor in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, stated that a COVID-19 cough is not unique. According to the expert, it is similar to the cough caused by other viral or bacterial pneumonias. MD Donna Klitzman, who is a clinical physician with New Jersey Pulmonary Intensive Care Specialists, agreed that patients cannot be diagnosed just by listening to their cough. She believed that patients who end up in hospitals these days are usually people who have not been vaccinated. “A painful, dry cough accompanied by lower than normal oxygen levels (hypoxia) is a sign of trouble,” she said.
How to treat this COVID-19 cough?
Klitzman shared that patients can treat a cough while recovering from COVID-19 at home. “It may help to elevate yourself while you sleep by sliding a wedge under your pillow,” says Klitzman. She added that cough suppressants – “antitussives” and cough suppressants with codeine taken at bedtime can be very helpful. However, she warned that one should not become dependent on it.
People who do not have a prescription cough medicine can drink a lot of herbal teas and take lozenges, according to the expert.
Klitzman pointed out that the best way to relieve a symptom of a disease is to treat the underlying disease. Therefore, if someone has mild COVID-19 and is at high risk of becoming seriously ill, they should take antiviral pills and certain monoclonal antibody infusions that can aid in healing — meaning less coughing.
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