A continuous cough is a not a common symptom of hayfever, but if present, it can be irritating. There are a number of reasons why allergies can lead to coughs - from post-nasal drips to simple irritating of the upper respiratory passages. A dry cough is the usual symptom but sometimes, phlegm is produced leading to a mucus cough. Here, our hayfever expert Louise Baillie describes the symptoms of a hayfever cough and offers advice on suitable herbal and home remedies to alleviate the issue.
A persistent cough can be one of the most irritating symptoms of hayfever, particularly if it is persistent. These coughs are usually dry and caused by pollen irritating the back of the throat or air passages, triggering the natural body reaction of coughing to clear the irritant.
Coughs associated with hayfever may also be caused by what is known as the postnasal drip. When pollen irritates the nasal passages, excessive fluid is produced by the inflamed membranes. This builds up and drops down the throat, irritating it, giving rise to a dry cough.
It can be difficult to determine what is causing your cough, and any persistent cough, or cough that you are worried about should be checked out by your doctor. If you are suffering from other hayfever symptoms, then the chances are high that your cough is caused by hayfever. Alternatively, you could try a hayfever symptom checker.
Although confusing, a hayfever cough may be dry and tickly, or a mucous cough. A dry cough is caused by the throat being irritated by pollen, while a mucous cough is the result of mucus building up at the back of the throat.
There are several home remedies you can try which may help with easing your persistent cough.
A warm drink of honey and lemon can reduce the irritation at the back of your throat and ease your cough, even if only temporarily. The lemon acts as a disinfectant to prevent any infections from developing or worsening your condition
Keeping hydrated by drinking plenty of water is important. This will not only help to prevent your throat from becoming dry or irritated, but also flush out any pollen which has lodged in your throat and palette
Avoid dry or smoky atmospheres, and if possible, avoid going outside at times when the pollen count is high.
Herbal remedies can either be taken to treat hayfever at the root of your cough, or be taken to treat the individual symptom.
For example, Pollinosan Hayfever Tablets combines several different herbs designed to reduce inflammation of the mucous membranes which occurs as the body reacts to pollen. Unlike some conventional hayfever treatments, Pollinosan does not cause drowsiness.
As hayfever is the cause of your cough, a doctor or pharmacist is likely to recommend anti-histamines to lessen your body’s reaction to pollen. This in turn may help to ease your cough. However, the body can develop immunity to such medicines, and thus they should only be used on a short-term basis.
There are various types of cough medicines and syrups available, some of which act as suppressants, and others which act as expectorants to release fluid from the lungs. Your pharmacist will be able to advise a cough remedy suitable for your condition.
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What you eat can have a dramatic effect on your hayfever symptoms. While anti-inflammatory and natural anti-histamine foods can help control your symptoms, foods containing dairy and foods rich in sugar can actually make them worse.