Nicola: Dealing with Coughing During Exercise

Hi I’m Nicola. I’m 29 years old and I moved to Perth from the UK in 2009. I was diagnosed with CF at six weeks old and I was 12 years old when I had my first ever admission into hospital. So I was pretty pleased with that! I am married, have two beautiful dogs and I work full-time in the City.

I’ve been pretty lucky in that I have managed to go through my childhood and most of my young adulthood without too much trouble from my CF. It’s only in the last few years that I’ve been really starting to feel its affects, but I still do reasonably well and work really hard to maintain my health through my daily medical routines and getting lots of physical exercise.

Nicola answered the following member question about how she deals with coughing during exercise.

‘When I exercise I sometimes cough. Do you ever cough or have to spit up mucus when you exercise? Do you get embarrassed? How do you deal with it?’

When I exercise, I often do so in a gym class environment. This means that I am usually surrounded by a lot of other people. Sometimes I do cough in front of the people I am exercising with, and I may cough multiple times. On the whole, I do not find this embarrassing. The reason being, is because I know that at some point in everyone’s life, they will have a cough too. So the chances are that they haven’t even noticed or thought it unusual.

It is rare for me to bring up mucus when exercising, and when I am alone it is easy for me to get rid of it by going to the bathroom. However, if I am in the middle of a class, I would simply have to swallow it and carry on. It’s not pleasant, but I know that it’s not harmful as it is instead travelling to my stomach and not back to my lungs.

It is a little trickier to deal with coughing during a Yoga class though. This is because the room is extremely quiet and therefore a cough is more noticeable. I find the best way to help stop a cough, is to have a bottle of water close to hand to help soothe the urge.
Interview from Rozee, 2015.

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