Suppressing the Cough: Will Hillary Go On A Coughing Fit Tonight?

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-7-09-07-pmSo either Hillary will be coughing or she will be disorientated from the medication. This should be interesting.

By Jamie Wells

The first debate between businessman Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will take place at Hofstra University Hempstead, N.Y. this evening and it has gripped news media. Some wonder if Trump can switch from dealmaker to debater, while George Stephanopoulos, current Chief Political Correspondent for ABC News and former White House Communications Director for President Bill Clinton, said on ABC yesterday that Hillary Clinton simply can’t have a coughing fit.

This is in reference to pundits (and even a few doctors) speculating about her health, a topic which I covered using evidence-based thinking here.

There are ways to insure that Clinton won’t cough – narcotics – but those are prescription medications and would unlikely be used during a debate, for reasons I will detail below. If, as a former Clinton insider like Stephanopoulos suggests, the goal is to make sure she doesn’t have a coughing fit, what short of narcotics will be effective?

Since there is a lack of evidence that they work very well they might not be worth it and I said narcotics would not be a good idea. Here’s why.  Medicating perception or other’s discomfort is never in the best interest of the patient.  Codeine, for instance, can be effective and used to be in over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.  However, it is a delicate dance.  Suppressing a cough also lowers one’s respiratory drive, not a benefit to a healing pneumonia, for example.  Narcotics can impact alertness, prompt dizziness or lightheadedness, cause nausea and vomiting as well as shortness of breath.  We also can’t know what adverse reactions could occur given the other medicines she takes.

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