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Humidifier to ease Coronavirus cough?

(36 Posts)
HurdyGurdy Sun 29-Mar-20 22:46:31

My work colleague has Covid-19 and has just posted a video of herself on Facebook, trying to deal with the cough, the shortness of breath and what she says is the difficulty in filling her lungs with oxygen. She looks and sounds so very ill sad. She is under 50 with no underlying health conditions.

She is a key worker (social worker). She has called 111 twice the last week, once for herself and once for her mother, who lives with her. She said they don't want to know because she can talk (only just)

My son is also a key worker (supermarket) and I'm even more worried about him, now I've seen how badly my work colleague is affected.

I've heard that a humidifier can ease a cough or congestion of the chest, so I am thinking about getting one, just in case my son catches it. Not that I'm likening Covid-19 to a cough or congested chest - just watching the video and it's clear it is something far more serious.

What do you think - would a humidifier do anything, or is it just a placebo?

Although we are following social distancing anyway, this has made me even more conscious of the need to follow the guidelines. I don't want to see anyone experiencing this.

M0nica Sun 29-Mar-20 23:44:11

I doubt whether a humidifier would help at all. I think it would be a placebo, better have a bottle of coughmmedicine for a dry cough.

I had a bout of dry coughing one night in bed, my throat was very dry. I spoonful of cough medecine and it disappeared.

Chestnut Sun 29-Mar-20 23:58:29

Doctor Xand van Tulleken was talking on a TV programme about self isolating and said cough medicine won't help but recommended honey and lemon drink. No mention of a humidifier. You may be thinking of croup where the air should be moist. It wouldn't hurt to put a wet towel on the radiator if the air in your home is very dry.

I am shocked that they won't help your friend HurdyGurdy. I think if you feel you need admitting then they should attend to you. How can they really tell how bad you are and what if you deteriorate?

Labaik Mon 30-Mar-20 00:54:26

I'm sure someone that had had the virus recommended Vicks vapour rub and/or Tiger Balm. The Tiger Balm bit stuck in my mind because I do actually have some in my medicine cupboard. And I know it sounds daft but perhaps the vapour rub on the soles of the feet might help.

vampirequeen Mon 30-Mar-20 00:59:26

Your friend should dial 999 if she's that bad. It's the advice given on the NHS website.

Try not to worry too much about your son. DH and I both have CV atm. Like most people who will get it, we've got mild cases. DH is using an anaesthetic throat spray. I'm not taking anything as I don't have the sore throat and I can cope with my cough/chest. We're both taking paracetamol for the aches and pains though. It seems to have affected our long bones (a bit like flu does). We're sleeping a lot more. Again, like the flu, you feel tired for no reason.

It's a worrying time and I understand your fears but try not to think about the worst case scenario for your son. If/when he gets it the chances are he'll get it like DH and me.

sukie Mon 30-Mar-20 01:05:17

vampirequeen Thank you for letting us know how your experience with this virus is going and for the helpful advice of trying not to think about the worst case scenario. I wish you and your DH a continued smooth recovery.

fatgran57 Mon 30-Mar-20 07:34:49

vampirequeen how were you and your OH diagnosed? Were you at the doctor or hospital?

I wonder how HurdyGurdy's friend can be diagnosed or anyone else for that matter.

Both my daughters work at the supermarket, both have young children, and they are very worried indeed.

One of them has kept the children home from school but the other family has to send their little ones to school and day care as we are not allowed to look after them.

School does finish this week until at least after Easter, but who minds the children?

vampirequeen Mon 30-Mar-20 07:57:06

You can't get diagnosed by humans in the UK unless you're very ill or part of the establishment. It's done through the NHS website. It asks you a series of questions and tells you if it thinks you have CV. We're assuming this is CV because the website says so and also neither of us have ever felt this way before. The cough is totally non productive. My chest feels like there is pressure on it but the cough doesn't do anything to help it. DH never gets sore throats yet now has one. Working on the law of averages I'd say we've go CV but we won't know for definite until an antibody test is available.

cornergran Mon 30-Mar-20 07:59:05

Mr C is a school governor fatgran, it has been agreed that the school will stay open over Easter. Worth checking if it’s the same for your grandchildren. I understand the worry about food retail workers. It feels hugely risky doesn’t it? Your message is very reassuring dragonfly, I hope you both improve very soon.

craftyone Mon 30-Mar-20 08:04:23

humidity will ease dry coughing but it will not reduce the viral load. You can get humidity by using hot water in a bowl with a towel over the head and a grain of menthol will help reduce swelling in the nostrils, on a temprary basis.

Hetty58 Mon 30-Mar-20 08:20:44

Chestnut, steam is no longer recommended for croup (makes me wonder why I used to sit in the shower room for all those hours with a small child). My grandson was prescribed steroids for it.

As I have allergic asthma, I do know that nasty feeling of shortness of breath. It feels as if you can't breathe in enough air - but in fact it's a case of not breathing out with enough effort.

Concentrating on breathing/blowing out as much as possible really helps. Moving slowly and keeping calm reduces oxygen needs, as well.

janeainsworth Mon 30-Mar-20 08:54:34


This advice appeared on my FB feed a few weeks ago, how good it is I’m not sure, since it wasn’t attributed to a particular source. But most of it makes sense to me.

“Simply put, if you develop symptoms
1. Take a cold remedy to stop the sneezing eg Sudafed and First Defence nasal spray
2. Take antihistamines to dampen the inflammatory response and protect the lungs
3. If you are asthmatic make certain you have your inhalers
4. In the evening it is likely you will have an elevated temperature so take Paracetamol as an anti pyrittic
5. You can only fight a virus when you are asleep so when your body tells you to sleep then rest preferably away from everyone else nicely tucked up but with the window open to reduce the number of airbornes in your room
6. Plenty of fluid and vitamins especially Vit C Zinc Vit D”
I would certainly do #6 if I had symptoms.
I agree with another poster who suggested your friend dial 999 if she’s not improving.

VQ hope you get well soon.

Baggs Mon 30-Mar-20 09:01:07

I wonder what "airbornes" means exactly. Also, in some circumstances (e.g. windy weather) wouldn't having a window open be more likely to increase the number of "airbornes"?

Not that I'm against open windows. I've been a fresh air fanatic since my teens. Fresh air is full of "airbornes", especially when trees are beginning to flower, like now.

janeainsworth Mon 30-Mar-20 09:29:50

baggs I think it means the droplets (aerosols) that are generated when a CV patient coughs or sneezes. The virus particles can survive in the air for a couple of hours, I think.
I saw an article about it yesterday - I’ll see if I can find it.

janeainsworth Mon 30-Mar-20 09:33:53

There’s a link to a rather more scientific but abstruse article from the US National
Institute of Health within the BBC article.

Pikachu Mon 30-Mar-20 09:42:22

Good article Jane

Baggs Mon 30-Mar-20 09:59:40

Thanks, janea. Undesirable/Covid19 airbornes, then, not just any old airbornes. A little specificity wouldn’t go amiss in advice lists like those.

Chestnut Mon 30-Mar-20 10:06:13

Don't take ibuprofen if you have the virus as it can make symptoms worse. Stick to paracetamol.

There has been success on patients in hospitals with very high doses of Vitamin C so maybe take double your normal dose at home.

I agree that sleep is the great healer, so I hope Boris and all the other big wigs are sleeping lots and not working too much, remembering their bodies are fighting a battle with the enemy.

Missfoodlove Mon 30-Mar-20 10:41:14

Do not take a cold remedy such as lemsip these contain decongestant, this will dry up you mucus membranes and cause a whole host of other problems.
The best cough medicine is Pholcodine, this helps a dry unproductive cough and eases chest pain.

MawB Mon 30-Mar-20 10:56:06

Fatgran in the U.K. schools will be staying open throughout the holidays for children whose parents are key workers or who are deemed vulnerable despite being “closed” to all since Friday 20 March. I hope they can still staff them
My DD was supposed to be doing one day a week (a secondary maths teacher) , but when DGS (8) developed CV symptoms last Tuesday, they had had to self quarantine as a family for 14 days

Callistemon Mon 30-Mar-20 11:09:50


Is No 2 on your list a recommendation by the medical profession?
"2. take anti-histamine to dampen the inflammatory response"

I thought the reason ibuprofen was not recommended for COVID-19 was because it is an anti-inflammatory and I heard a medical professional on French TV say this was not recommended because the body needs an inflammatory response to fight the virus. Ibuprofen dampens down the body's immune response.

Would the same be true of anti-histamine?

janeainsworth Mon 30-Mar-20 11:54:52

Callistemon The short answer is, I don’t know.
But my guess would be that ibuprofen and antihistamines work in a different way at a cellular level.
Any pharmacologists out there?

janeainsworth Mon 30-Mar-20 12:06:46

Callistemon This article from Patient Access briefly mentions it.

If you follow the link in the article about treating the cough, antihistamines are mentioned as a way of managing symptoms.

Labaik Mon 30-Mar-20 13:04:59

Drowsy antihistamines would help you sleep, also, but I think I only have non drowsy ones here.

HurdyGurdy Mon 30-Mar-20 14:23:38

Thank you all. Some very useful responses here. I will definitely try and get some antihistamines, to help with sleeping, and stock up on Vicks, which I use a lot for coughs anyway.

And give the humidifier a miss smile