Next Covid crisis: What happens when you need to cough in class?

Senior Phanuel Njang coughing in the hallway (which we do NOT recommend).

Joshua Burgos

Senior Phanuel Njang coughing in the hallway (which we do NOT recommend).

To cough or not to cough, that is the question.

It started in second period, a little tickle in my throat, slowly rising to a suffocating burn. Why, why now? There’s only 15 minutes left of class. The cough I have been trying to suppress only becoming worse with no mercy on my lungs. Finally, I couldn’t keep it in any longer.

“Ahem.”

Bad idea, very bad idea.

When you cough in class, everyone immediately turns to look at you. Especially when the classroom is dead silent. With COVID taking over everyone’s life, it makes it hard to try and live normally.

Coughing in class has now been deemed unacceptable whether you cover your mouth, cough in your mask, or just let it rip. Teachers and fellow students immediately look at you with judgement in their eyes, and suddenly you are the outcast. However, coughing can actually either be caused by nervousness, dry throats, allergies, or even cystic fibrosis.

I am here to talk to you about the tried and true methods for stopping sudden cough attacks in class based off my personal experience. The first method is to inhale deeply through the nose, cover both the mouth and nose, and hold your breath for as long as you can. Then, exhale and take the next breath through your nose again.

IT DOES NOT WORK! I do not recommend it, all it does is slow your heart rate and make you lightheaded. In the end, it makes your cough attack worse and it feels like a literal fight with the Grim Reaper.

Method two is to begin to take slow breaths through your nose and TRY to calm down your cough.

This method is slightly better, however, now you are faced with the tickling burn in your throat and the need to cough only becomes more pressing. Once again I do not recommend this method if you appreciate your lungs.

Method three is to take even deeper breaths every eight seconds, and continuing until the cough attack calms down.

I would recommend this method for those of you who cough when you are nervous or anxious. It helps to calm the nerves, I would also recommend this to anyone who is good at counting. While all of these methods could work for you better than they did for me, it is better to just cough.

It does not matter if the class is louder than a circus or quieter than a mouse, coughing is a natural bodily function to get rid of irritants and bacteria in the throat. Don’t suppress a cough. It’ll only get worse.

It is slightly different with COVID though, so if you are able to get to an area where no one is around, it is okay to pull your mask down to cough into your elbow. If you can’t get out of the room, your mask may protect everyone else from your bacteria, but you should still cough into your elbow.

The cough cannot be stopped, so let it out, but do it safely. DO NOT TAKE THIS AS A REASON TO NOT WEAR YOUR MASK. COVID IS REAL. Make sure to wear your mask properly and wash your hands, so we can continue to learn, work, and live safely.

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