Once upon a time doctors would recommend some simple remedy,
rather than reaching for the prescription pad, but regrettably
much traditional medical wisdom now seems to have been lost
and forgotten. However, a London Harley Street specialist recently
recommended an old-fashioned, if rather unusual, treatment,
to a man afflicted by a chronic cough.
The specialist first asked his patient whether he was prepared
to do exactly as he was told, and, having gained his consent,
instructed him to "go away and grow a beard". The
patient was, of course, incredulous, but duly did as he had
been told and his cough disappeared. The intriguing aspect of
traditional remedies is that although, as in this instance,
they might seem a trifle bizarre, there is invariably a sensible
rationale behind them.
There are several reasons why someone who is a non-smoker
and has no other signs of chest disease may none-the-less have
a chronic cough. Chronic coughs may be the sole symptom of asthma,
even in the absence of a wheeze or shortness of breath. It is
thus likely to be exacerbated by the same factors as asthma,
including sudden changes in temperature and exposure to cold
air. A beard would be a preventative measure by keeping the
neck warm. Clearly this remedy is not appropriate for women
or pre-pubescent boys, but a cravat or high-necked woolen jumper
may have a similar beneficial effect.