The official blog of the Lung Institute.
A common symptom for people with chronic lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis or interstitial lung disease is frequent coughing. People with lung conditions will frequently cough up mucus from the lungs, which can feel embarrassing or disruptive in social situations. Frequent coughing can impact your social life and can also interrupt your sleep. A frequent cough is not only frustrating, but can also be painful. Let’s take a look at how to stop coughing with these 5 simple steps to ease your breathing to help relieve one of the worst symptoms of lung disease.
5) Drink More Water
People with COPD cough for two reasons: airway inflammation and to expel mucus from their airways. Mucus, however, can be difficult to expel, resulting in a persistent cough. One way to combat the severity of mucus in your body is to drink plenty of water, which makes the mucus less thick and easier to expel from your body.
If you get tired of drinking plain water, try adding fruits and vegetables like cut up strawberries, lemons, limes or cucumbers to your H2O. The added flavor helps break up the monotony of drinking water all day long, and you get a small nutrient boost from any nutrients that leak out of the fruits or vegetables into the water.
In addition to drinking water, consider investing in a humidifier, which will increase the moisture content of the air in your home. When it comes to how to stop coughing or to reduce coughing, a humidifier may be especially helpful at night when you’re unable to drink water for an extended period of time.
4) Do Breathing Exercises
Studies suggest that people with COPD who practice breathing exercises experience reduced feelings of breathlessness, an increase in their quality of life and feel less fatigued. Breathing exercises strengthen your breathing muscles, which can help you to feel more confident and relaxed when experiencing COPD symptoms, such as coughing. There are two common breathing exercises that are particularly helpful for people with COPD: pursed lips and diaphragmic breathing.
Pursed lips breathing can help with shortness of breath because, when practiced long-term, it helps to reduce how hard a person has to work to breathe. Try this:
- Relax your neck and shoulders.
- Breathe in slowly through your nostrils while you count to two (keeping your mouth closed).
- Pucker your lips as if you’re giving a kiss.
- Breathe out slowly and steadily through your mouth while you count to four.
Diaphragmatic, or belly breathing, helps to strengthen your diaphragm muscles. Try this:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent or resting on a pillow.
- Place one hand on your upper chest and the other hand on your belly.
- Inhale slowly through your nose.
- As you inhale, focus on feeling the hand on your belly rise and the hand on your chest remaining as still as possible.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth like you would in pursed lips breathing.
- As you exhale, focus on feeling the hand on your belly go down first.
- Repeat as you are able.
3) Drink Hot Lemon Water with Honey
Drinking hot water with fresh squeezed lemon juice and raw, organic honey may help to soothe your throat, which is helpful when you’re trying to stop coughing. Lemons have the ability to support your immune system because they are high in antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C. This combination can suppress cough receptors by quieting the tickling sensation that is often associated with coughing. To make your own lemon honey “tea,” combine the following ingredients:
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp honey
- ½ cup or more hot water
One of the most important things you can do for your lung health is to stay active. Exercising can be hard for people with COPD, which causes shortness of breath. However, increasing your physical fitness can actually help to reduce COPD symptoms. Because of this, overcoming obstacles and sticking with exercise goals are key to staying healthy and alleviating symptom flare-ups.
However, traditional forms of exercise, such as jogging, biking or hiking, might not be the best fit for a person with COPD. In fact, a recent study found that water-based exercises, such as water aerobics or swimming, might be a better fit for people with COPD. They are less strenuous but still come with great benefits. The study found that water-based exercises improved fitness and quality of life in people with COPD. Other noteworthy exercises to try include yoga and tai chi.
1) Take Supplements to Help Stop Coughing
Taking the right supplements can help support your immune system by providing antioxidants, relaxing muscles, soothing irritation and helping to stop coughing. Here are some supplements to try:
- Vitamin D – Recent studies suggest that supplements, such as vitamin D supplements, may reduce symptom flare-ups in people with COPD.
- Omega 3 – Omega 3s have anti-inflammatory effects.
- Antioxidant Vitamins – Vitamins A, C and E have shown to improve lung function in people with COPD, especially when combined with omega 3.
If you’re considering taking supplements, it is important to first consult with your primary care physician, as many supplements may interact and interfere with certain medications and health conditions. While the aforementioned supplements have been shown to help people with COPD, each person’s condition is unique, so consulting with your doctor beforehand is a must. It’s always best to talk with your doctor before trying any tips or changing your treatment plan.
Many people with COPD and other lung conditions have experienced a reduction in symptoms and improvement in their quality of life after receiving stem cell therapy from the Lung Institute. Contact us to learn more about stem cell therapy today.