Speculation about Clinton’s cough is going viral on the internet and being a doctor who specializes in cough, I love examining and unraveling “mystery cases” where patients are suffering from a persistent cough and just can’t seem to find the source. Of course I can’t diagnose someone who is not my patient, but I have seen many celebrities, political leaders and business executives who share Hillary Clinton’s busy and stressed out lifestyle. I’ve listed some of the most frequent reasons that non-smoking patients in my practice have experienced a chronic cough like hers:
- Dryness of the mucous membranes: especially common in people who are exposed to the cold dry air in planes.
- Allergies or mold irritating the airways: someone who travels as much as Clinton will be frequently exposed to unfamiliar allergens.
- Postnasal drip: caused by dryness, allergies, mold or other factors.
- Acid reflux: stomach acid coming up into the esophagus can trigger a cough, and eating on the run can contribute to stomach acid.
- Throat irritation from talking too much: especially someone who gives high-intensity, high-volume speeches like Clinton.
- Lung tumor: uncommon in a non-smoker like Clinton, however smokers with a chronic cough should definitely be checked for the possibility lung tumor.
Talk of Clinton’s cough may have gone viral, but her cough itself is not likely to be, because she’s had it for years and viral infections resolve within a few weeks. However, viruses are still one of the most common causes for coughs. We all know by now that antibiotics don’t work for viral infections. So what to do instead?
In my practice, I encourage patients to use the best evidence based recommendations for over the counter drugs and natural remedies. Here are a few of my favorites for patients with coughs like Clinton’s:
- A mild antihistamine if postnasal drip is an issue.
- A saline nasal rinse, either in spray form or better yet in a neti pot to completely clear the nasal passages of irritating dust and pollen.
- Lemonade made with fresh lemon juice with honey, both of which have antimicrobial factors.
- Garlic and ginger, the garlic chopped raw and mixed with honey or added to salsa or pesto, and the ginger sliced and simmered as tea.
- Slippery elm tea or lozenges: this herb adds a nice soothing coating to the lining of the throat and stops the coughing from irritation.
- Herbal lozenges or essential-oil inhalers, especially ones with medicinal herbs like eucalyptus, mint, or pine, to open up the airway and even reduces infection.
- Butterbur (petasites), an herb that stops a spasmodic cough and is as effective against allergies as Flonase or Allegra in two different research studies.
If you would like more information on these suggestions, other natural treatments, and the best over-the-counters for cough, Check out my book COUGH CURES. Wishing Hillary the best of luck in finding relief from her cough, and I hope that you all found these tips helpful!