Your Questions Answered by Jean Blacker

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Q: Following a bout of flu, I now have a dry, irritating cough that won’t seem to go. Is there anything you can recommend?

A: It is quite common for a cough to accompany or follow a cold or flu. A cough is the body’s protective reflex, an attempt to eliminate foreign objects from the respiratory tract.

A cold will often cause swelling and irritation in the throat and upper airways and the brain perceives this swelling as an object, which it tries to expel by coughing.

If mucus is brought up, the cough is described as productive. An expectorant is usually needed with this type of cough to help bring up the excess mucus in the airways.

Dry, tickly coughs that do not produce phlegm are usually referred to as non-productive, and for this type of cough, a cough syrup usually does the trick.

A. Vogel’s Bronchosan Pine Syrup contains freshly harvested pine shoots and honey. Pine shoots have been used for many years as a remedy for dry, irritating coughs and honey can help with the tickle. It’s also known for its anti-bacterial properties.

If your cough is persistent your immune system may need a helping hand.

Echinacea can help in this respect; a powerful immune-balancing herb, it works by improving the way the immune system responds to bugs.

The mineral zinc and beta-carotene can be useful for the lung lining and vitamin C in doses of around 60mg at a time can help to improve immune function.

Increase your fluid intake, making sure you drink plenty of filtered water, herbal teas and diluted fruit juices. You could also try sipping warm water, plus lemon, ginger and/or garlic and a little honey.

Colour your plate with good immune-strengthening foods such as beetroot, peppers, chillies, sweet potato, carrots, apples, nuts, seeds, blueberries... the list goes on, but generally lots of raw, colourful ingredients.