A Sticky Situation
Handle that Cough with Phlegm
You haven’t experienced being totally embarrassed until you have coughed suddenly, with phlegm, in front of many people, in the middle of a quiet room, and with no exit near you. Coughing is our body’s natural way to keep our airways clear. But heavy coughing with phlegm does not only cause embarrassment and inconvenience, it means something is off in your body as well. It is usually a sign that an infection has developed in the lungs.
Although annoying and embarrassing, phlegm actually has its purposes. It aids the regular immune system when it gets overloaded; traps microbes and viruses from colds, bacteria, and unwanted particles; protects the lungs from infections and damage from any of the above organisms; and protects all other parts of the respiratory system likewise.1 Once phlegm has done its job and it’s loaded with viruses and unwanted elements, it detaches itself, then moves toward the throat where it can be coughed out. So coughing with phlegm is actually useful in preventing bacterial infections.
However, while you have the cough, it can be very uncomfortable, so you want to rid of it as soon as possible. The following remedies may help you deal with this sticky situation.
Try Homemade Syrups
Blend two tablespoons of lemon juice with one tablespoon of honey and add a pinch of cayenne pepper. The honey coats your throat, soothing irritated tissues, while the lemon reduces inflammation and delivers a dose of infection-fighting vitamin C. The cayenne boosts circulation in the area, accelerating the healing process. Instead of cayenne, add a little freshly grated onion. Onions contain irritating compounds that trigger the cough reflex and bring up phlegm.2
Cough expectorants help loosen the mucus to make your cough more productive. Expectorants also help if you have difficulty coughing the mucus up. Expectorant active ingredients help rid airways from mucus by making the mucus more fluid so that it is easier to clear by coughing.3
Be choosy when it comes to food
Warmed foods help thin and open airways to allow for easier mucus elimination. Soups and teas are helpful, as well as spicy foods,such as those made with chili peppers. Other foods that are proven to be beneficial in breaking up mucus are oranges, pineapple, grapefruits and lemon. Celery, asparagus, onions, cauliflower,and garlic can also help eliminate mucus.4
Smell Something Soothing
Smelling something soothing such as menthol vapor rubs helps calm the senses, helps suppress the cough reflex and allows you to sleep at night. When you have a cough with phlegm, you may also apply it on your throat and back to appease your discomfort.
Drink Plenty of Liquids
Drinking plenty of liquids such as water, juice or tea with honey, help thin out mucus. Gargling daily with warm water also helps a lot.
A Sticky Situation – Handle that Cough with Phlegm