Here are 10 things in your home and office that you need to beware of.

cough triggers at home and officeWhen you have severe cough, there is little you can do beyond taking your medicine, and drinking some warm liquids to soothe your throat. Once your infection subsides, the cough will go away on its own. But there is another aspect to consider if there is something in your environment making your cough worse, getting rid of it may be very much within your control. Here’s a list of 10 things in your home and office that may be aggravating your cough.

Cold or dry air

When you have a cold, your nose and throat are already irritated. Air that is cold and dry causes a loss of water vapor from the respiratory passage; this worsens the irritation and can cause the airways to go into a spasm and the spasm sets off a bout of coughing. At night, when the air grows colder, the cough often worsens.

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Curtains and drapes

Curtains and drapes are a common sight in most homes because they enhance the d cor. However, these fabrics also serve as magnets for dust which may be a mixture of fiber, dust mites, mold spores, parts from cockroaches and even animal dander if you have pets at home. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, dust can set off an allergic reaction. So, anytime you move the curtains or drapes or vacuum them, this dust gets dislodged from the fabric into the surrounding air and breathing in this air can aggravate your cough.

Upholstered furniture

Like curtains, upholstered furniture also tends to attract a lot of dust. Such furniture is difficult to clean and most people only carry out a perfunctory occasional cleaning. Anytime someone uses such furniture, or if you have young kids jumping on it, the dust gets released into the surrounding air and this can worsen your cough. Read more about how you can prevent a sore throat from progressing.

Carpets and foot rugs

Carpets we use on the floor accumulate a lot of dust and also human skin flakes and animal dander. Foot rugs you use at the door of the bathroom tend to get moist when you wipe your wet feet on them and this dampness promotes the growth of mold. Whenever you rub your feet against the carpet or the foot rug, it causes the release of dust or mold spores into the air and this can aggravate an existing cough.

Sleeping gear

If you find that lying in bed causes your cough to aggravate, it is due to the effect of gravity that causes secretions to drip into your throat and irritate the membranes there. But there may be another contributing factor the mattress, bedspreads, pillows and sheets on your bed all accumulate dust with time. Blankets may also shed tiny fibers that attract more dust mites and these can make the irritation in your throat worse.

Stuffed toys

Those who have young kids are sure to have some toys of the stuffed variety or soft toys lying around the house. These toys tend to collect dust and when your kid plays with them, the dust gets into the airways, aggravating the cough.


When you inhale any type of smoke, it causes a severe irritation of the mucous membranes lining your airways. Your cough can therefore aggravate if someone at your home or office smokes, or if there is a neighbour burning garden waste and the smoke enters your home, or if your home or office is along a busy road where vehicles spew exhaust throughout the day. Read more about how air pollution is more deadly than you think.


If you have pets at home cats, rodents, dogs or birds it may be the pet dander that is responsible for your persistent cough. Pet dander is a mixture of the skin that flakes off the animal mixed with its saliva. This dander is highly allergenic and can set off your immune system. If your pet rolls in the grass outside and then comes home, it may have also picked up the pollen floating around in air and the pollen is equally allergenic.


According to, perfumes can aggravate symptoms of asthma. Cosmetics such as deodorants, hairspray and perfumes that have a strong odour can irritate your airways. If someone at home or in your office is using such cosmetics, you may find your cough aggravate when around this person. Read more about the herbal alternatives to cosmetics.

Indoor potted plants

Soil is a rich source of mold and the damper the soil, better the mold grows. When you have a potted plant in your home or office, the spores given out by the mold can enter your respiratory passage and lead to an irritation. This leads to the typical coughing and sneezing that indicates an allergic response.

Of the 10 things listed here, there are sure to be at least two or three that apply to your home and office environment. When you tackle these issues, it is possible that your cough will settle down a little sooner. Besides, if you suffer from asthma or allergic conditions, getting rid of the offending cause can help you stay healthier in the long run.

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