Why does ice cream make me cough?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Why does ice cream make me cough?” and provide information on whether allergies can trigger coughing, possible causes of cough as well as how to reduce coughing sensation.

Why does ice cream make me cough?

Ice cream can make you cough because of reflexive action. It would be imperative to take a medical, family, or social history in cases of severe coughing.

Some individuals can have several bouts of coughing after consuming ice cream. In such cases, it is important to consult a doctor.

Can an allergy cause a cough?

Yes, coughing can commonly occur when an individual is exposed to milk products and other dairy products that can trigger an allergy.

A cough can occur to eliminate these products causing an allergy. Coughing can cause the immune system to trigger a response too.

Apart from milk allergy, nut allergy can be another cause of cough. Nuts present in ice cream can be another ingredient that can trigger a response.

What are some other causes of cough while eating ice cream?

  • GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease can be a cause of cough. Consumption of any food items or drinks can cause coughing too. 

A major sign of GERD can be upper quadrant chest pain. The acid present in the stomach can go back to the esophagus. This can increase acid production and cause indigestion.

When the stomach is full, there can be an increased chance of GERD symptoms reappearing. Increased acid levels can cause cough, throat, and chest pain.

  • Bronchospasm can occur when respiratory muscles tighten. This can cause airways to become narrow and trigger coughing during the consumption of ice cream. Bronchospasm can be a common symptom observed in asthma or allergies.
  • Sensitivity to cold can be another factor that triggers coughing. If you consume cold foods like ice cream, you might feel like coughing especially if you have a sensitive throat.
  • Hardening of mucus can be another common factor that could trigger a coughing sensation. As ice cream is cool, it can cause mucus to thicken. When the mucus thickens, it can trigger a coughing sensation to remove the mucus.

This phenomenon can be especially observed when you down huge amounts of ice cream. It can cause short-term throat pain.

  • A throat infection can be another common cause of coughing. When you experience an infection, your throat can swell and become sensitive. This can trigger constant coughs. It would be better to avoid consuming cold foods for a while in such cases.

How to reduce the coughing sensation?

If you wish to reduce the coughing sensation, you can consume water. Water can remove any irritant troubling your throat and help in clearing the air passage.

Consuming honey can be another way to soothe yourself. Honey can relieve pain or throat soreness. Honey-infused lemon water can help in throat clearance too. You can consume any warm drink to prevent throat irritation too.

Avoid consuming cold water or cold fluids to soothe your cough. This can further irritate your throat and cause issues.

What can be done for severe bouts of cough?

You can even consume a teaspoon of cough medicine to soothe frequent bouts of cough. It is better to go to a doctor if the cough does not seem to settle down.

Probiotics can be a natural remedy to counter cough. It can help in balancing gut microbiota and also improve immunity. Some foods that contain probiotics are miso, kefir, kombucha, tempeh, kimchi, and sourdough.

Peppermint leaves can also heal your sore throat. The menthol present in peppermint can trigger a cooling sensation in the throat which can reduce coughing symptoms.

You can also go for a steam treatment by adding 1-2 drops of peppermint oil to boiled water. Cover yourself with a towel and take deep breaths above warm water. Inhale those water vapors.

Marshmallow roots are seen to be quite effective against coughing. The leaves and roots of marshmallow plants can soothe your throat. It can also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Thyme is a herb that can soothe frequent coughing. Thyme contains flavonoids that aid in the relaxation of throat muscles. It can also reduce inflammation.

Temporary relief can be obtained by gargling with saltwater. You can add ½ tsp of salt to lukewarm water and start to gargle. Make sure to not swallow water while doing so. Children under 6 years should not be allowed to gargle. Ginger can reduce cough too.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “Why does ice cream make me cough?” and provided information on whether allergies can trigger coughing, possible causes of cough as well as how to reduce coughing sensation.



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