Dealing With Hyper Sensitive Cough Reflex Syndrome and How Not To Catch A Cold!

I struggle daily with a neurological condition called Hyper Sensitive Cough Reflex Syndrome. It's taken me around 10 years to get a diagnosis and an understanding of why I have random violent coughing fits throughout the day. Recent tests also showed a type of bronchitis in my lungs. I am now under the care of a specialist hospital team in Manchester who are world leaders in research into this condition. That's the good news. The bad news is that there isn't anything that can be taken to reverse the damage to the nerves in my throat (probably caused by a bad virus way back in time. I think it all stems from getting really sick on a trip to Mexico in 2004). I concentrate on trying to manage the condition and the things that can trigger it. That's not always easy when triggers include eating, drinking, a change in air temperature when going from indoors to outdoors (and vice versa), exercise, walking past open fridges in shops, acid reflux and post nasal drip. It's exhausting and I can cough so much I feel faint or vomit. Getting a cold on top of already having a persistent cough can be a total nightmare so over the last few years I've discovered a group of products which I really believe help prevent colds. There's hardly anything on the internet about this condition so I wanted to do a blog post in case it was of help to any other sufferers. I thought I'd also share my cold prevention tips here as they may be of interest to anyone else with chronic health issues or who suffers from regular colds.




Echinaforce is my go to medicine as soon as I feel a cold coming on. I work in a big open plan office and there are regularly colds flying around. I'm positive that there's been many occasions when it's actually prevented a cold and the times when one has taken hold then taking this has definitely lessened it's impact and shortened it to an average of four days. To take it you mix a teaspoon of the tincture into a mug of boiling water. It makes a nice tasting, fruity, comforting drink that you take up to five times a day. I've tried echinacea tablets and drops too in the past but this seems to be the way of taking echinacea that works best for me. As well as echinacea it also contains black elderberry. Although not listed as such on their website I have checked with A Vogel and it is suitable for vegans.




Back when I was a reviewer for Can I Eat It? I tried a selection of Olive Leaf Teas from Miribilia. Hailing from Italy, olive leaf tea has actually been around for centuries. The most tender leaves from organic olives are picked and slowly dried to produce leaves that you simply add boiled water to. The tea boasts many claims such as being extremely high in antioxidants, antibiotic, anti-viral and anti-fungal qualities, an aid to weight loss and as a way of lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. It’s said to boost the immune system and all whilst remaining caffeine and tannin free. You can refresh the leaves and get two or three brews out of each portion of leaves. As well as using this to ward of incoming colds I also like to drink this throughout the morning on fast days (I am currently following the 5:2 regime).



Olive Leaf can also be purchased in extract form. I've got into the habit of picking up a bottle of this in December to see me through the festive season and for the last few years I've managed to spend Christmas and New Year cold free which is something which I never thought would happen!



As well as my cough condition I also have issues with my sinuses. When I have a coughing fit my eyes and nose stream almost like an allergy (I've been through allergy tests and nothing has showed up as positive). In the last couple of years I've also developed pretty bad post nasal drip which is a BIG cough trigger. I had been using a neti pot for a while which are a device used to flush out the sinuses originating in India when I discovered NeilMed Sinus Rinse which is much easier to use. To some warm (cooled boiled) water you add a sachet containing sodium chloride and sodium bicarbonate and then squirt this up your nose to irrigate your sinuses. It definitely helps and I use it add least once a day. When I have had a cold I've used it up to four times in a day combined with using a steam inhaler with menthol crystals to good effect.
Getting a diagnosis has been great in some ways as at last I have a name and an explanation for what is going on. I was even able to attend a 'cough conference' last October and meet other people with the same condition as well as medical professionals who explained to us all the latest research and testing. Knowing that this is a chronic condition that I will have for life is harder to deal with. This throws up a whole load of emotions from anger to frustration to feeling sorry for myself. I've just been able to access a set of free counselling sessions so I'm hoping that these will help me get my head round this, find some acceptance of it all and make positive steps forward with how I deal with it.

Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this blog Caroline, I hadn't heard of the condition, but I am very interested to have learnt about it. Your cold preventions and remedies are great tips. As someone who has had longterm conditions for over 15 years, it does get easier and having a diagnosis and support from other people in a similar boat really helps. Wishing you all the best x

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  2. Thank you Sarah. I've tried to almost ignore it all for such at long time that getting a diagnosis last summer and understanding has brought up so many feelings I'd been suppressing. But things are starting to feel more positive and the cough conference is an annual thing so I will definitely go again. It's open to people partners and friends too which I thought was great and lots of people brought someone with them.

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  3. I love hearing about vegan ways to cope with medical problems.

    I am sorry it took so long to diagnose you. My Mother has a medical condition that was misdiagnosed as asthma and has caused her to get overmedicated and develop new medical issues. It is great you are sharing this to make a lesser known medical problem so people with the same thing might be able to self-diagnose themselves and go to their doctor faster.

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    1. Oh no ,your poor mum. I hope she is doing ok. The very first GP I saw gave me asthma inhalers but luckily did tests too which were negative so I didn't take the asthma medication for long. Thank you for your kind words. The therapist I have seen suggested writing a blog post as I've not been able to find much information myself online and I debated over it for a while but know I've finally done it, it feels like a positive step.

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  4. Very helpful post. I agree with what Jennifer said, this can be really helpful for people who might be suffering like you were. And finding holistic, vegan treatments is always great.I'm going to share this post with a friend who has a different chronic condition and is prone to coughing fits, and getting colds is very painful. Thanks for such helpful information!

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    1. Thank you and thanks for sharing with your friend. I hope there is something here that can help them.

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  5. Thanks for your comment, I just wondered if you had note this recipe was inpsired and prompted by yourself. http://allotment2kitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/darjeeling-pecan-tea-loaf.html

    I also enjoyed this post, and am a huge fan of echinacea.

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  6. I just spotted your recipe. It sounds great. I love tea loaves.

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  7. How good to get a diagnosis, but how frustrating to not have any obvious treatment. Did any of the research sound promising or interesting in terms of yielding something that might help?

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  8. They have invented a new cough medicine. The first new type in a hundred years or something! Apparently it did well in the research trials they've done so far but it completely takes your sense of taste away! So, it's still a work in progress and about 5 years ago from being available.

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  9. While there can be a relief in having something diagnosed, it is certainly frustrating and depressing when it is a chronic condition. Hope that the research team there continues good work to help fix it for people who have it!
    I was interested to see your cold-prevention tips. Last year I seemed to have a cold every second week, so I have written these down.

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    1. Thanks Susan, I hope they are some use to you :)

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  10. Hello dearie, I know what its like to wait for a diagnosis, years make it so frustrating. Hubby says he knows someone at work with the same condition and she has recently been prescribed some oramorph, oral morphine in small doses basically and it's helped her a lot. You probably already know of it, but I always think its worth saying. It's been forever since I've seen you, we must get over your way and meet up for a beer with you and your lovely man *smiles*. X

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    1. Yes, I can well imagine how you can relate! Hope all is ok with you. The morphine is what I'm lined up to try next. There 's just that and speech therapy to learn breathing techniques left to try. It's rally good to hear that you know someone who it's helped.

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  11. I was really interested to read about your condition, because I also have a chronic cough problem, though mine has so far evaded diagnosis! I do occasionally have coughing fits like the ones you describe, where I cough so hard I start gagging, but my problem is more a constant need for throat clearing, accompanied by big sexy globs of phlegm! Best guess is it's related to reflux, but none of the reflux treatments I've tried have made any difference. Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for this post, because I can relate to some of what you're going through (which makes me feel less alone!). I realise this post was some months ago, so I hope you've had some success in managing your condition since then!

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