Refraining From Coughing, When You Have A Cold?

[Dear Cecil:]

True story. When I was still quite young, we were going to my uncle’s house for a dinner party. And I was in the back seat, coughing up a storm, because I had a bad cold, naturally. My mother noticed, and asked me nicely not to do that during the dinner party, as a courtesy to the other people there. So I stopped. And I didn’t cough the rest of the day either, for some reason, holding it in, with all my resolve. And the next day, I remember, I was pretty sick. Much more so, in fact.

At the time I concluded, this was because I didn’t cough, presumably, because I just didn’t know.

Anyways, now coincidentally (or maybe, uncoincidentally, depending on how you look at it) I have another cold. It’s a minor one. I think one of my doctor’s gave it to me. When last I saw him, he had it pretty bad. But I think he just gave me a glancing blow, as it were. (Boy, why would a doctor, of all people, go to work if he was so sick? I digress, of course.)

But back to my original point: To cough, or not to cough? Does it affect the overall cold, and its course, in any way? I really would like to know, especially now.

[Yours truly, Jim B.]

Now, the rest of you, please disregard the brackets for Uncle Cecil, and answer my question:).

I think you should cough if it feels good when you do it, it might clear the phlegm and be productive, and it seems like its your bodies natural defence so you should go with it. But, if it hurts your throat to cough, coughing might cause more inflammation and irritate it further. When i have dry coughs I usually try not to cough because it makes my throat hurt and seems to make it worse.

It should be an elementary social skill, that when you have a cough from an upper respiratory illness and will be at a social gathering, that you use some sort of cough suppressant to minimize the hacking, horking and spitting. Your body will not be harmed by temporary cough suppression, any more than it would by suppressing loud, juicy, screaming sneezes which some people inexplicably find obligatory.

This public service announcement was brought to you by Dr. Phlegm™ in the service of humanity.

There is no suppressing some coughs, in my experience, which is why I think it’s a good idea to absent oneself from social occasions involving food until the toxic and explosive phase passes.

*"…loud, juicy, screaming sneezes which some people inexplicably find obligatory…" *

I just don’t understand some people. Maybe they feel that you should go with the flow and express the wisdom of the body because uh, if it feels good do it, and you shouldn’t repress your natural impulses, yada yada. I used to like pasta florentine. I used to like the veg restaurant that served it. Fine, express yourself - but please, not by sneezing, from the heels, four in a row, into the pasta florentine at the vegan buffet. Which I had the good fortune to see an otherwise presentable, apparently non-demented individual doing at just such a buffet. Good fortune, because it was a valuable learning experience. Now I frequent places that have proper sneeze-guards in place, like Chipotle! :smack:

If the cough is productive, don’t suppress it, but you might get up and go to another room for a bit.

Well, sneezes kind of are obligatory, in that it’s really hard to suppress them. But facing the buffet table while you do it generally isn’t. You should usually have enough warning to at least face the other way.