Food and NutritionWhy does ice cream make me cough? 10 Informative Causes

Why does ice cream make me cough? 10 Informative Causes

Do you ever take a bite of something cold, like ice cream, so why does ice cream make me cough ? only for it to cause an unexpected burst of coughing? If so, you are not alone – many people experience this mysterious and sudden reaction to cool temperatures. It can be embarrassing or even alarming in public , however, understanding why this occurs can help us better address the issue. This blog post will explore why does ice cream make me cough and what causes people to cough when they consume cold foods or drinks and how to combat the effects.

Overview of the phenomenon and what causes it

The medical term for this phenomenon is a “cold-induced cough,” which occurs when the body’s airways become irritated by a sudden drop in temperature. This causes involuntary reflexes ranging from a light tickle in the throat to an uncontrollable coughing fit. It usually occurs immediately after a sip of cold liquid or consuming something such as ice cream.

Why Does Ice Cream Make Me Cough After Eating

ice cream make me cough
ice cream / source : pixabay

Here are some of the leading causes why does ice cream make me cough :

Allergic Reactions

A cough after eating ice cream can result from an allergic reaction to a particular ingredient. Common allergens in ice cream include milk, eggs, and tree nuts such as almonds and walnuts. People with food allergies are more likely to experience a sudden onset of coughing after consuming ice cream.

Suppose a person has an allergy triggered by eating certain foods. In that case, they should talk to their doctor about avoiding them and learning to manage any symptoms that might arise from accidental exposure. 

Dairy Intolerance

Another cause of a cough after eating foods like ice cream could be dairy intolerance. This occurs when the body cannot properly break down lactose, the sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and coughing or wheezing after consuming dairy products.

It’s essential to speak with your doctor if you suspect you may have a food intolerance or allergy so they can help you identify which foods should be avoided and develop a plan for managing any symptoms that might arise from accidental consumption. 



People with asthma may also experience coughing after eating ice cream due to the cold temperature triggering an asthma attack or exacerbating their symptoms. An asthma attack can cause shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, or coughing due to inflammation in the airways caused by allergens or irritants like cold air or dust particles in the environment.

If you cough after eating cold foods like ice cream or drinking cold beverages, you must speak with your doctor about ways to prevent asthma attacks and manage your symptoms when they occur. 

Acid Reflux

Another possible cause of a cough after eating ice cream could be acid reflux disease (GERD). GERD occurs when stomach acid travels back into the esophagus, causing irritation and inflammation and resulting in burning sensations in the throat and chest, leading to coughing fits afterward.

Treatment for this condition usually involves lifestyle modifications such as avoiding certain trigger foods, including chocolate, citrus fruits, and fried food items, as well as over-the-counter medications that reduce stomach acid production to alleviate some symptoms associated with GERD, including coughing fits following meals.

Managing and dealing with the reaction

You can manage and even reduce the intensity of ice cream-induced coughing in several ways. Here are a few tips:

Choose creamy flavors over cold, icy ones


Cold temperatures can cause throat irritation, so if you’re looking to avoid coughing fits while still enjoying ice cream, it’s best to opt for a creamy flavor like French vanilla or chocolate. Cold, icy flavors such as mint chips may be too harsh and trigger coughing. 

Choose low-sugar options

While the allure of a sugary scoop of ice cream is hard to resist, it’s important to remember that sugar can worsen throat irritation and lead to coughing fits. Opt for reduced-sugar varieties, or choose sugar-free options to limit coughing while enjoying your favorite flavors. 

Try frozen yogurt instead.

Frozen yogurt is an excellent alternative if you’re looking for a cold treat without the risk of triggering a cough. Unlike regular ice cream, most frozen yogurt has considerably lower sugar content which helps reduce the risk of irritating your throat and causing coughing fits. 

Limit portion size

Overeating rich and creamy foods, such as ice cream, can irritate your throat and increase your chances of triggering a coughing fit. To reduce this risk, it’s best to stick to smaller portions when eating ice cream – it will help keep your throat calm and limit the potential for that dreaded coughing fit! 

Eat Ice cream slowly.

Taking small bites and eating slowly gives you time to enjoy each bite without overwhelming your body with large amounts of food at once; this helps reduce the chance of triggering excessive coughing because you can control how quickly you swallow each bite more readily. Plus, taking time between bites allows you to savor every delicious moment!

How to Make Your Cough Go Away?

If you find yourself coughing after eating ice cream, there are a few things you can do to make it go away.

  • Take small sips of warm drinks.

Sipping on warm beverages like tea or broth can help soothe your throat and reduce the intensity of your cough. This may not be a great option if trying to avoid sugar, but hot drinks with honey may help relieve coughing fits.

  • Gargle with salt water

Gargling with salt water helps reduce inflammation in your throat and can help relieve the symptoms associated with cold-induced coughing fits.

  • Use an antihistamine

An antihistamine such as Benadryl or Claritin can help reduce the symptoms associated with cold-induced coughs. Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any medication.

  • Avoid cold frozen drinks and food.

If you experience coughing fits after eating or drinking something cold, it’s best to avoid them altogether to prevent further irritation of your throat and airways.

  • Take a hot shower

A hot shower can help relax your throat muscles and relieve coughing fits from eating ice cream.

With these tips, you should be able to enjoy your favorite flavors without worrying about triggering an unwanted coughing fit! Just remember – take it slow and savor every bite! You’ll be able to enjoy ice cream once again without fear of coughing.


What is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic digestive disorder that occurs when stomach acid or bile flows back into the esophagus, causing chest pain and other symptoms such as coughing and an uncomfortable burning sensation in the throat.

Why should I avoid ice cream if I have GERD?

Eating ice cream can trigger GERD due to its high-fat content, which can cause irritation of the esophagus and lead to chest pain, coughing, and other symptoms associated with GERD.

Are cold drinks and foods bad for me if I have a sore throat?

Yes, frozen drinks and foods can worsen a sore throat as they cause sudden exposure to extremely cold temperatures, mucus production or triggering the body’s natural reaction of coughing or sneezing.

What if I experience coughing fits after eating ice cream?

If you experience coughing fits after eating ice cream, it is best to take small sips of warm drinks, gargle with salt water, take an antihistamine (after consulting your doctor), avoid cold drinks and food and take a hot shower to make the cough go away.
Additionally, try limiting portion size when eating ice cream and eat it slowly for better control over how quickly you swallow each bite.


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