With cold and flu season comes chronic sniffles, but what about that persistent cough that you just can’t shake?
New Yorkers have recently reported an unusually dry cough that seems to not be accompanied by any other symptoms of illness and plagues sufferers for weeks on end.
“No joke, everyone is coughing in New York City right now,” creator Bryan Jun lamented as he also hacked on camera. “It’s the worst because you’re not even sick, it’s just this dry cough with no mucus or anything.”
Viewers claimed the dry, persistent cough was sickening people in their own cities and countries, while the unseasonably warm weather puzzled fellow New Yorkers, who believe it’s not cold enough for flu season.
“Winter don’t even feel like winter, mind you, it feels like spring or fall,” exclaimed creator Cristal Elizabeth, who questioned “what is in the air” after witnessing so many of her peers coughing.
Their wheezing coincides with cold season, a rise in the “100-day cough” in the UK and an outbreak of whooping cough, or pertussis, on Long Island.
But cold air, COVID, RSV and the flu aren’t the only culprits of the horrid hacking, according to Dr. John Whyte, the chief medical officer at WebMD who reported an uptick in respiratory-related illnesses which have recently plagued the Big Apple.
Whyte told The Post that indoor heating dries airways and nasal passages can result in a dry cough, as well as allergies. Viruses, too, can be sneakily persistent; even if you feel better after a few days from the common cold, it can take 10 to 14 days for it to run its course, leaving victims with a cough when other symptoms are long gone.
Temperatures drop as winter presses on, making the perfect environment for viruses to spread. Coupled with the peak of the school year, holiday gatherings and more employees returning to work, it’s “not surprising” that more people are experiencing such symptoms.
“People are back at work. Kids are back in class. And respiratory viruses spread when we are around other people,” Whyte told The Post in a statement.
While most colds and flu can be treated at home with cough drops, syrups — a preferable choice over pills to “soothe the throat,” according to Whyte — and a humidifier, if you start coughing up blood, spike a high fever or develop chest pain, it might be worth your while to see a doctor.
Washing your hands, cleaning regularly and covering your nose and mouth when you cough can protect yourself and others from the dreaded winter wheeze, although many people may not practice what experts preach.
“Surprisingly, I see a lot of people don’t sneeze into their elbow. Please learn how to cover your mouth and/or nose when cough or sneeze,” Whyte advised.
“Encourage people to stay home when they feel sick. They don’t need to spread viruses. And [it] doesn’t hurt to take some vitamin D if you don’t get outside enough!”