A forum for people who suffer from chronic or persistent coughs to share ideas... these don't have any sort of official approval so you try any of them out at your own risk. I've consigned some of the more unusual ones I received to the Oddities bin on the left. I've also listed very simple remedies separately. If you're a sufferer, good luck, and please report back by commenting on the particular posting if you find success. Or just comment to the most recent posting and I will pick it up.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Catching up with Saturday Live mails... amazing response!

One from Tony Gordon:
I heard on SL today that Nick Peake had complained last week about a persistent cough. I cannot find any SL blog or email about this, so do not know if anyone has suggested that a rare but well-documented cause is debris in the ear canal or a hair resting on the eardrum. This phenomenon is triumphantly rediscovered in the medical literature every few years. If he wants any more information, pehaps you could ask him to contact me.

George Kerpner writes (letter received) 

It seemed to me the twin brother of a cough I had and which had been equally persistent, until I saw an ETN specialist who, after some tests decided it was caused y a reflux of stomach acid. He put me on Lansoprazole 30mg. capsules, two daily, and after the cough had gone, some weeks later he suggested I carry on with one daily. 

Name: Bobbie

I have every sympathy for the lecturer who has a persistent cough. I have coughed for more than 25 years to the point of being sick followed by total exhaustion and tried every remedy known to medicine. However, in the last year I have had an MRI scan which has revealed a condition known as bronchiectasis in both lungs. The treatement has involved the use of inhalers, antibiotics and occasional steroid pills and physio with breathing exercises. It has worked. Get your GP to try this route.
Name: Marilia
I would like to ask Nick Peake if he has tried Acupuncture treatment for his cough. If not or if he would like to try it again I would like to offer my help as Acupuncturist.

I have been an Acupuncturist for 17 years and have my clinic in Congeton, Cheshire and I am available for information about it.

Re the man with a persistant cough; I too have had this condition for years. I heard him say he did some singing. I was a professional singer for 25 years and am convinced it has something to do with damaged vocal cords. My doctor doesn't agree although she will not send me to see anyone to look into this possibilty. Hope you do get it sorted because it is so debilitating. Regards. Marian 

I have like Nick Peake had a chronic cough for about 15 years and it is very debilitating. I have seen many specialists to no avail. The last one told me that there was nothing he could do for me and I left in tears. I too have discovered that chewing gum does stop the cough but as soon as I stop chewing it returns. If ANYONE has a solution please let me know. It is embarrasing and very tiring.

So sorry - with reference to my earlier email, I forgot to tell you what caused my cough! How stupid of me - I got carried away by the fact I have never before contacted a programme while listening to it on air!

Anyway, my cough had nothing to do with smoking and in fact it had nothing to do with my throat at all. Very few doctors or specialists have heard of it, apparently, so I was doubly grateful to the Radio 4 "Check Up" specialist who admitted that very few medics knew about it.

It is a reflux reaction and as soon as I was put on the correct stomach medication (nothing to do with the throat or chest as I say) the cough vanished, never to return.

Love your programme!
Kind regards.
Northern Ireland
Re Coughing 

If you have a cough of the kind that is helped by chewing or sucking sweets ( ie, in the throat rather than chest) try, at the first tickle, putting your thumbs under your jaw and below your ears where your saliver glands are and give them a good deep massage whilst swallowing and sucking an imaginary sweet. You will feel immidiate relief the moment you touch the right spot. I have just discovered that this this stops a cough dead in its tracks. No more embarasing moments in concerts or cinemas for me!


your guest with the "cough" may benefit from a visit to a qualifed homeopath.I have treated many people with this type of symptom. A cough that long may well be an emotional link, and homeopathy deals with the whole persons health and wellbeing.

For a local homeopath please check the society of homeopaths website www.homeopathy-soh.org
good luck. best wishes Vanessa 

I had a persistent cough and went through the usual tests X-rays, Tubes down the nostrils etc.,. Eventually I was prescribed medicating that suppressed reflux. This is when digestive acids from the stomach entering the back of the throat while sleeping. This causes sensitivity at the back of the throat which causes the cough. It took about six months, but cured the cough. Unfortunately, it returned when I stopped taking the medication, but not so persistently. I also purchased an adjustable bed (Ikea) so I can sleep with my head and upper body slightly raised.

Hope this helps your listener.David
Poor old Nick Peake! However, has he tried The Alexander Technique? Nick, if this is passed on, PLEASE give it a go? 

The technique is a method of neuro-muscular re-education - and your respiratory muscles, whatever the original cause, have become set into a habitual way of functioning. Your whole use of yourself (NOT posture in the sense of 'standing up stright') will have altered compensate for and to accomodate your coughing and that very accomodation is maintaining the cough. The 'viscious cicle' is alive and well, hence the morphine as a suppressant working a bit. But there is another, rather safer and less 'sticking plaster' way. 

Lessons with an Alexander teacher (who qualifies from a 3 year full time training course although you would be looking at 6-30 lessons as a pupil) will address this issue and show you how to reverse the habits and some back into balance. To come back to place you were before the coughing upset the respiratory integration.

I have taught Alexander for 26 years and have seen many problems, stubborn to other interventions, improve dramatically. The words, "I wish I had tried this first instead of a last resort" so many times. It will give you tools to manage it anyway.

Do please check it out? Please email me if I can offer any assistance or go to www.stat.org.uk for details and/or find a teacher in your area.

I wish you the very best whatever and I am sure you can stop coughing.

re. Nick Peake's cough I had a persistent cough for some months that turned out to be caused by acid 'reflux' from the stomach, which then irritates the throat the rather humdrum solution was Gaviscon Advance! can't believe he won't have looked into this already but on the other hand none of the doctors I consulted even mentioned it as a possibility I self-diagnosed from a medical website

Nick's cough: has he tried an asthma "preventer" inhaler? I had a persistent cough (worst every morning when I woke up) which disappeared completely after I was coincidentally prescribed a "preventer" inhaler (Beclazone) for late on-set asthma, which I use twice a day. After a few days of regular use, I noticed that my cough had disappeared. There was a similar story in the Saturday Times (Body and Soul) a few months ago, in which a man had suffered with a bad cough, and no specialist had thought to try preventive asthma treatment. A GP suggested it several years later and it worked a treat. Worth a try if he hasn't already.



I am a Bowen Technique Therapist and recently treated a man who had been coughing or 6 years. When he came back for the 2nd treatment he hadn't coughed for a week. I will see him for his 3rd appointment next week.

Bowen is a very gentle muscular/skeletal treatment enabling the body to balance and heal itself. I would recommend to try this treatment - there are practitioners on the Bowen Technique European Register site or the tutor/expert on Asthma and Respiratory problems is Alastair Rattray, teacher, European College of Bowen Studies. Email rattray@global.net

I am sure you will have many suggestions following the programme but, if you haven't tried Bowen, it is a remarkable gentle therapy which has amazing results.

Good Luck.



Re: your guest with the cough.
Have you ever tried Dexa-rhina nasal spray. Mainly prescribed for hay fever but can be helpful for persistent cough caused by cattarh. Contains a small dose of dexamethasone which is a steroid and tramazoline which is a decongestant. There are probably other similar preparations. However not usually recommended for long term use.


I had exactly the same symptons as Nick.I couldn't move without coughing. I too was a lecturer. I went through everything conventional medicine could throw at me including methadone(supposedly good cough suppressant. Nothing worked. I also had blood test for allergies which came back negative. However after the specialist wrote me off saying there was nothing further they could do, I went and had further allergy tests with a kineisiologist and although I had no expectation whatsovever, I was completely better within 2 weeks. I was so impressed i eventually became an allergy consultant myself. I would suggest that for one week Nick writes down everything he eats. Things that he eats every day he should eliminate from his diet for 2 weeks everything else he can eat every four days.He should also cut out completely tea coffee and alcohol and avoid all additives and processed food.After 2 weeks he can !

start bringing back in one food at atime once a day. If he gets no reaction i.e. severe coughing headache etc he can bring back into diet once every four days. He will then be able to determine which foods are causing a coughing problem. It certainly worked for me! Judy 

By chance I heard the item about Nick Peake's cough, and I would like to suggest a likely diagnosis. Over the years I have seen several patients who started wheezing or coughing after they stopped smoking due to latent allergic asthma being unmasked. It seems that the smoking was actually supressing the allergy, but restarting does not work. In recent years it has been recognised more often that asthma can present as a persistent cough with no trace of wheeze. Has this possibility been considered? Have a look at my website for my C V etc or he could give me a ring any time. 

Dr H Morrow Brown MD, FRCP(Edin), FAAAAI (USA)
Highfield House,
Highfield Gardens,
Derby DE22 1HT
Tel : 01332 331500 Fax : 01332 361748 Email: derbyallergydoc@morrow-brown.freeserve.co.uk
website www.allergiesexplained.com
I listened with interest about Nick Peake and his cough. I would like to think (as he has tried everything) that he's already seen a chiropractor about his cough. There is a very good chance that our profession could help him.

I'm still training - three years full time almost complete and another two still to do. At 50 I'm one of the oldest students (and staff) at the college.

Regarding nick's cough. Sounds like a psychosomatic problem. There are a number of options that could be considered. One of them being Homeopathy. I also have experince with cases of psycosomatic ENT problems. I would be happy to talk to Nick, if just to give him some information to think about.



Licentiate of The Institute of Aromatic Medicine 


Article on Nick Peake coughing.
I was coughing for over a year making it difficult to do my job which involves talking to a lot of people both face to face and on the telephone. I was awake most of the night with coughing making me very tired.

After various investigations including a head scan nothing was found. The only thing my consultant could find was that my nasal passages were very narrow causing me to breath through my mouth. The nose produces mucous which contains a lot of moisture which you usually swallow. When you breath through your mouth, the moisture evaporates and the mucous becomes very thick making it difficult to swallow and causing you to cough.

I had an operation of widen the nasal passages and the cough has reduced considerably though not gone altogether.
I have great sympathy for the man with the cough. I itch. I have had and still get many medications from my GP, and the best I can say for them is that they work for a short time. The only time I am not forcing myself not to scratch is when I am asleep, so I awake to find sore patches on my body. We all have our own problems and have to live with them. I do this without resorting to believing in a god, because if I believed there was a god then I would consider him a sadist.

On the food subject. I cook a large pan full of my own recipe vegetarian stew. I keep it in the fridge and microwave a dish full for my main meal each day. This method avoids all those additives you see listed on pre made microwave dinners. It also saves a hell of lot of money. Some say it is boring to eat the same thing each day, but some of us eat to live rather than live to eat. The consequence is that despite being in my 60's I am the correct weight for my height.

HI there
As soon as I heard Nick Peake I was amazed the word Asthma wasnt mentioned. This is what I have been told causes this with me, I cough, but only when I have talked a certain amount, and if I dont talk I dont cough. I was helped by Buteyko, a revolutionary method of treating asthma and other conditions. 

In Australia clinical trials proved it cured asthma as well as the leading drug treatments but they wont take it up on the NHS, I suspect because it will lose millions of pounds for the drug industry. There is plenty of information on the internet about it, and you get one to one training from a trained practitioner, one ex nurses remortgaged her house after seeing the results and wanting to fund the progress of the treatment in the UK. 

My impression is that the theory is related mainly to overbreathing, and breathing in through the mouth instead of the nose too much, which apparently most of us do these days and this has implications on the oxygen/ carbon dioxide levels. 

The training was to try to not cough and always keep a glass of water beside you and take a sip if at all possible instead of coughing. Coughing, like talking at length, (and for me, laughing!) basically brings on more coughing and makes it worse. so being a lecturer does seem a less than ideal job for Nick! 

You do need to have discipline to practice it, as it involves daily breathing exercises set specifically for you according to the nature of your problem and - I know, I know this sounds crazy but believe me it works! - taping your mouth up at night with micropore tape to ensure you dont over breathe and breathe thru the mouth at night. If I dont wear the tape, I get the cough, and finally my partner as grudgingly agreed it does seem to make a difference though its hardly romantic! 

Nick Peake could ask his doctor to contact Professor Morice@Castle Hill Hospital, Cottingham, East Yorks.He is an expert on persistent coughs,often caused by "silent reflux".He has been on Radio 4,and is available on the N.H.S.

Sincerely. Maureen.
Hello there, 

I was listening to person who has a problem coughing i think his name was Nick. I had the problem myself 7 years ago and it lasted for about 9 months, when out of desperation i went to see a herbalist in Syria who is very famous and he had the cure for me: pick good number of 

Eucalyptus leaves and boil thoroughly for a long time. Then strain the liquid and drink it like tea (you might need to add honey)once you ve had the first cup leave it till it cools and put it in the fridge and every time you need to drink a cup warm enough amount for you like i said use it like tea. repeat it for ten days and see if if helps. it took me two weeks but you might need to check with your GP in case you were allergic to Eucalyptus. 

Best or luck
Please pass on to Nick Peake. I too have had a cough for many years and have had all the tests and the final conclusion was that I coughed as a result of oesophegal reflux, which affected my respiratory tract rather than the usual indigestion/heartburn.I have found Fishermans friend lozenges to be effective at suppressing the tickle and sometimes use Gaviscon in order to try to control the acid , neither of these is addictive and may appeal better than morphine for long term use

Ursula Allen
Email: umurphyallen@aol.com -
Phone: 01580 890370

Ref. coughing.
In the early 60s, if I caught a bad winter cold, in the Birmingham area,I could not stop coughing 'til the spring.

I then discovered codeine linctus, which could be bought from the chemists, Pholcodeine linctus is available now which has less side effects, I always keep a bottle handy in case I have a coughing fit.

A friend who is a chemist has told me, it is best to take one good swig, to get it well down your throat. This may calm you imediately and no more need be taken. If you take a smaller dose, you may need to take many more, and still keep coughing.

Re the guy with the cough.
My bet is on house dust or something in your environment. Giving up smoking probably awakened your immune system. 

My suggestion is that you book up a stone cottage without carpets and done up with natural materials. There is a company called under the Thatch in west wales, they might be able to help. But don't stay under the thatch. Buy some holiday cloths from a cheap outlet like say matelan just for the holiday so it won't have your house dust on them. when you wash them don't use any powder etc. Make sure your wife uses no perfume or hair spray etc and eliminate all after shaves and perfumed soap etc. Bung the cough medicine in the bin. And find some marsh mallow in the wild and make your own.

Now in west wales there are very few high pollen crops like rape seed etc, Also the air is very clean. But buy local honey and gulp it down ,as that which you take by mouth you are less lightly to be allergic to.So do that strait away.

When I visited my mother in Kent I would start coughing and wheezing every time. When she died and cloths and bedding etc where removed from the house I nearly died my self on several occasions I could hardly breath and had to sleep under one of those silver sheets that I found in my first aid kit . So I knew then it was house dust or maybe cat dust . The only real relief I could get was traveling back to west wales as the air cleared so did my chest. But if I ever have to move old carpet I nearly die. The only first aid thing I can do is suck warm salt water up my nose. Which sounds completely crazy but brings some immediate relief.

So if you find that clean air that blows of the sea helps then you will have to move house . Or get somebody to remove all the carpets and sand the floor etc.

Also my bet is on you having a mild skin allergy as well. For this use water at 45c to max 48c for instant relief. I got that of a research pharmacist at the University of south wales.

Failing all else try getting stung by bees, once in a while a miracle cure can result . I got stung around the eye and it cured my macula degeneration. Also it seems to cause my allergies to clear up every spring. There is a thing called the aipitherapy list of people who sting people for a living. 

Also just adopt a self help mentality, conventional medicine has done nothing for you in 13 years. So think for your self and eventually you will find a way.

Best wishes and good luck with it.

Like Nick Peake I too have had a cough for the past 14 or 15 years. It was also after I stopped smoking and after a bout of bronchitis that the cough really got going. The other symptoms went but not the cough.

I've been to the cough clinic (yes, there is one) on and off for about 10 years to no real avail. I too have tried morphine - in my case oral morphine - but this made me drowsy and also caused constipation! On top of that, it only seemed to work for about three weeks as have most of the other treaments that have been offered.

I also have ways of managing the cough when I'm at the theatre but in class - I too am a tutor - I tend to suck Olbas pastilles which help, but only once I've stopped coughing.

My husband has decided that the cough could be grounds for divorce! However, he's still here. 

If it's any help to Nick, he's not alone - I met several others at the cough clinic and some are in a worse state that Nick and I, coughing almost constantly.

I will contact nick through his blog. 

Kind regards

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