Ice Cream Cough – Why Does Ice Cream Make You Cough?

Have you ever felt like you can’t function normally after eating ice cream? You’re coughing continuously, and your brain seems to have frozen.

It is as if your mind recognizes the joy of having the greatest thing in the world – ice cream – and is taking time to savor the moment.

Brain freeze might not be as big of an issue as the constant coughing that follows. Sometimes you start coughing as soon as the ice cream hits your throat.

We understand how irritating it can be, so we are here to get to the bottom of the matter and answer all your questions regarding ice cream cough.


Ice Cream Cough

The throat and airways might get inflamed by ice cream’s quick release of irritants (1). It may also be due to allergies and inhaling the cold air from ice cream without sufficient time for the body to acclimate to the temperature difference.

Allergy to any ingredients in the dessert might cause coughing after eating ice cream.

A reflexive cough can also be triggered by eating ice cream (2). Your medical, familial, and social background might also play a role in determining why you’re experiencing coughing symptoms after consuming ice cream.

Coughing suddenly after eating your favorite ice cream can be painful for ice cream aficionados.

Coughs can be brought on by eating or drinking anything cold, especially if you’re feeling under the weather. Having a cough after eating ice cream might be a sign of a more severe condition.


Causes of Coughing

Coughing has six possible causes. They are as follows:


1. Allergies

Allergies are the most prevalent cause of coughing.

An allergy to milk products can cause you to cough after eating ice cream. It’s best to eat dairy-free items and watch for symptoms of an allergic reaction.

According to a few studies, the most common reason for dry cough is the direct airborne transmission of the virus, ingestion of cold beverages or ice cream, or an allergic reaction to greasy meals (3,4).


2. Asthma

Asthma can cause you to cough because of an allergic reaction to certain meals and beverages (5). It is only a notice from your immune system that something potentially hazardous has entered your system, comprising its units.

You should also consider the other ingredients that might have triggered your asthma. One of these ingredients is a nut (6). Some ice creams have nuts sprinkled on top that can trigger your asthma, causing you to cough.

Sudden temperature drops can elicit a cough, much like consuming a cold beverage or eating ice cream can produce a brain freeze. Toxic substances like pollen, cigarette smoke, and even worry can wreak havoc on an asthmatic’s day-to-day routine. Cold food might exacerbate their breathing problems and constrict their chests.



Many people appear to cough and experience aches in their chests from eating ice cream. One of the most probable reasons is GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). This disease is the cause of strange coughs, especially those that happen right after eating ice cream. If you have GERD, you might experience chest or upper abdomen pain when coughing (7).

Part of the acid created in the stomach backs up into the esophagus, which can lead to heartburn. This occurs due to increased stomach acid production and volume following the consumption of food or drink.


4. Bronchospasm

The sudden tightening of the muscles lining the airways causes additional constriction of the airways, leading to breathing difficulty and coughing fits.

Asthmatics and allergy sufferers are more likely to experience bronchospasm after consuming ice cream than others. Due to this complication, your throat gets sensitive and coughs when exposed to abrupt cold temperatures.


5. Thickening Mucus

Ice cream passes through the esophagus and into the trachea. Because it is cold, it causes the trachea to chill and thicken, which causes the mucus in the trachea to solidify (8).

The mucus in your trachea rushes back to your throat to clear the airway. However, once it comes into touch with ice cream, your body’s reaction to thickening mucus is to cough until the thicker mucus is expelled.

The ice cream, which is less fluid in nature, takes longer to chill your trachea and thickens the mucus content in your esophagus.

Because ice cream is thick and drips slowly down your throat, you can get unexpected chest and throat pain when you gulp enormous portions of ice cream. It can also lead to continuous coughing, which can be pretty challenging.


6. Throat Infection

If you have a sore throat, you will experience coughing and other negative effects after having ice cream or consuming any cold beverage. In case of a throat infection, your throat is swollen and sensitive to foreign products.

Ice cream is a no-no at this time since it’s chilly.

You might experience coughing fits if you consume ice cream in a large quantity. Therefore, you should consume any cold items for a few days until your infection is cured.


How to Get Rid of Coughing


The doctors at Mayo Clinic suggest taking Corticosteroids, Antihistamines, and Decongestants for ice cream cough (9). These medications help with allergies.

You can also take asthma medicines if you have asthma. The most effective therapies for asthma-related cough are bronchodilators and corticosteroids. These kinds of drugs lower inflammation and open your airways.

If you are suffering from a bacterial, fungal, or mycobacterial illness that causes chronic cough, a doctor will most likely prescribe antibiotics to tackle the infection and cure your cough. It might be a week-long course; however, you will feel better eventually.

Moreover, doctors also suggest acid blockers. When lifestyle adjustments fail to take care of acid reflux, you may be treated with drugs that prevent acid production. Of course, before taking any medication you must consult your doctor!


Homemade Sources

The following are some effective homemade ways to cure coughing:


1. Drinking Water

The best thing you can do for yourself is to drink plenty of water. You must consume water as soon as you feel like coughing after eating ice cream.

The water will flush out any irritants in your throat and open up your bronchial tubes, making it easier to digest ice cream and breathe simultaneously. Take a sip of anything warm to soothe your itchy throat.


2. Turmeric

Turmeric is one of the oldest Ayurveda spices. This yellow spice has been used to cure respiratory and skin conditions for millennia and is present in almost every household kitchen (10,11).

You can alleviate a bold case of cough with the help of this miraculous spice. Mix some turmeric into a warm glass of milk and sip it before sleep. But, first consult with your doctor.


3. Steam

One of the simplest methods to alleviate a cough is to use essential oil and inhale the steam (12).

Steam lets the warm air enter your throat and helps remove congestion while soothing it simultaneously. Put in a few droplets of essential oil to a basin of hot water.

You can also use Vicks if you fail to acquire essential oils. Cover your head using a towel and breathe deeply for several minutes.


4. Ginger

Superfood ginger can help with nausea, flu, colds, and coughing (13).

It has anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties that are beneficial for your throat infections. Add some honey and pepper to a warm cup of ginger tea; that might help soothe a cough.

Avoid overdosing on ginger, as it can cause heartburn and other digestive issues if consumed in large quantities.


5. Honey

According to a 2017 research, honey is the oldest cough cure and is fantastic for your health (14). However, it should never be given to infants due to the risk of infant botulism.

Drink a cup of tea or warm water twice daily with a teaspoon of honey added to keep your cough at bay.


6. Gargle

Even some doctors promote gargling as a home treatment for a sore throat (15). Because saltwater is osmotic, fluid motion merely changes direction.

Gargle with a salt and warm water solution several times a day for rapid relief.


7. Licorice Tea

You might have a sore throat if you constantly cough after eating ice cream.

Drinking a cup of warm licorice root tea can help with coughing (16). Prepare a cup of tea by boiling it for around 15 minutes. Add one teaspoon of licorice powder in it to complete the process.

Drink licorice tea 3 to 4 times a day to get quick relief.


Consult with a Physician

Ice cream cough is usually not something to worry about. It goes away in a couple of days when treated immediately. Most people go for DIY remedies to cure such coughs.

However, allergy- or infection-induced coughs might be a bit more serious. They tend to last a few weeks.

If it persists and you get symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, or chest discomfort, you should consult a physician immediately and get medical attention.


Final Words

After eating ice cream, you may experience coughing, get a runny nose or have a sore throat.

It’s a sure indicator that something’s wrong with your body. It might be because of a sore throat, a dairy allergy, or acid reflux. Your body tends to make you cough as a natural defense mechanism.

Depending on the reason, coughing may go away on its own or linger for a long time.

Further reading:


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why Do I Cough When I Eat?

Coughing as soon as you eat indicates that you aren’t eating or swallowing correctly. On the other hand, it might also suggest that you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When your stomach is full, whatever food or drink you consume may cause stomach acid to flow back into your throat, irritating it and causing you to cough.


Why Do I Have a Dry Cough When I Consume Dairy Products?

Your body may be trying to warn you that dairy isn’t suitable for you by producing an allergic response. You should steer clear of dairy products at all costs if it happens.


Is Drinking Lemon Water Good for a Cough?

Lemon water might be helpful to abate cough. However, it might not taste good. Add some honey to enhance the flavor.