A persistent cough can be really annoying, and you probably want to get rid of it as soon as possible. Coughing is a side effect of colds and flu, but is also caused by allergies, asthma, gastric reflux, dry air, smoking, and some medications. It can be extremely painful and annoying, so try some of the following tips to try and get rid of it quickly.
Part 1 of 3: Natural Remedies
Step 1. Use honey
It is an effective product for fighting coughs and relieving sore throats. In a Penn State College of Medicine study, honey was found to have a higher impact on cough recovery than over-the-counter medicines. Honey helps coat and soothe the mucous membranes. If a cough prevents you from sleeping, it can be quite helpful just before bed.
- Honey is ideal for adults and children, but don't give it to babies under 1 year old, as it may increase the risk of infant botulism.
- You can eat it directly. Take 1 tablespoon every 2-3 hours when the cough persists. Another solution is to add at least 1 tablespoon to a cup of hot lemon tea.
- According to some studies, honey is as effective against cough as dextromethorphan (an active ingredient commonly used in many antitussives).
Step 2. Drink licorice root tea
This drink soothes the airways, helps calm inflammation, and loosens mucus. To prepare it, put 2 tablespoons of dried licorice in a cup and pour 250 ml of boiling water. Leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Drink it twice a day.
- If you take steroids or have kidney problems, don't drink licorice root tea.
- The active ingredient, glycyrrhiza, can cause side effects in some people. Look for deglycyrrhizinated licorice (or DGL) in herbal medicine, it has exactly the same effects.
Step 3. Try a thyme tea
This plant is used in some countries, for example in Germany, for various respiratory diseases. Thyme helps relax the throat muscles and reduce inflammation. Bring 250ml of water to a boil and steep 2 tablespoons of ground thyme for 10 minutes. Filter before drinking.
- Add honey and lemon for additional soothing properties. These ingredients could also make the flavor more pleasant.
- For internal use do not use thyme oil, but fresh or dried thyme.
Step 4. Chew a hard candy
If you don't have cough lozenges on hand or would rather stay away from medicated lozenges, you can usually ease and curb your cough by sucking on a hard candy.
- A dry cough that does not produce phlegm can be relieved with almost any hard candy. It allows you to generate more saliva and swallow more, thus stopping the cough.
- If you have a fat cough, then accompanied by phlegm, lemon candies are generally effective.
- Hard candies are an effective cough remedy for children aged 6 and up.
Step 5. Try turmeric
It is a traditional remedy that many find effective in combating coughs. Try pouring half a teaspoon of turmeric powder into a glass of warm milk. You can also try this ingredient with 1 teaspoon of honey for dry cough. To make herbal tea, add 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder to 1 liter of boiling water. Leave it to infuse, then strain it. Add lemon and honey to give it additional cough relief properties.
Step 6. Dissolve the peppermint and ginger in the lemon juice
Ginger helps loosen mucus. Ginger and peppermint can ease the irritation in the back of the throat that triggers a cough. Add honey to the mixture for an even more effective remedy.
- Add 3 tablespoons of chopped ginger and 1 tablespoon of dried peppermint to 1 liter of water. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat. Let it simmer until the liquid has reduced, then strain it. Let it cool for a few minutes, then add a cup of honey, stirring until completely dissolved. Take 1 tablespoon every 2-3 hours. You can keep the mixture in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
- You can put a small piece of peppermint candy in the lemon juice. Heat them in a small pan until the candy is completely dissolved. Also try adding some honey. Calculate 1 tablespoon, 15 ml, for this mixture. Turn to mix the ingredients.
Step 7. Try essential oils
Combining essential oils and steam can help you inhale them and have many benefits. Give it a try with tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil, both of which are known to relieve airways and clear them. They also have antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that allow you to fight bacteria and viruses.
- Boil the water and pour it into a bowl. Let it cool for about 1 minute. Add 3 drops of tea tree oil and 1-2 drops of eucalyptus oil. Bend over and cover your head with a towel to retain the steam. Breathe deeply for 5-10 minutes. Repeat 2-3 times a day. Just make sure you don't get too close to the water, as the steam can make you scald.
- Do not take tea tree oil: it is toxic if ingested.
Step 8. Make a bourbon-based cough syrup
If you want an effective cough syrup exclusively for adults, you can mix a little whiskey with lukewarm lemon water in a cup. The great thing about this syrup is that it gives you a feeling of sleepiness, so it is an effective method of stop coughing and help you fall asleep even if it reappears.
- Mix 60ml bourbon, 60ml lemon juice, and 60-125ml water in a microwave-safe cup.
- Heat in the microwave for 45 seconds.
- Add 15ml of honey to the mixture and let it heat in the microwave for another 45 seconds.
Step 9. Try a Korean folk remedy
If the cough was caused by a cold or the flu, you could try making a traditional Korean compound. Combine dried jujubes, spices, honey and other different beneficial ingredients.
- Mix 25 dried jujubes (cut into slices), 1 large Asian pear (cut into 4 parts and without seeds), an 8 cm piece of ginger (cut into slices), 2-3 cinnamon sticks and 3 liters of water in a large pan. Cover it and heat over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for an hour.
- Filter the juice and throw away the other ingredients.
- Add 15-30ml of honey to sweeten the tea. Sip a hot cup of this drink to soothe a sore throat and stop coughing within minutes. One of the simplest but most effective actions you can do is to try to relax your body and breathe deeply.
Step 10. Gargle with salt water
Salt water is used to relieve a sore throat, but it can also fight a cough by causing the inflammation to subside and the phlegm to be cleared. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt with 250 ml of warm water; let it dissolve completely, then gargle for 15 seconds. Repeat until all the water is used up.
Step 11. Try Apple Cider Vinegar
This vinegar is a great way to get rid of coughs without using drugs. You can warm it up and drink it like tea, with the addition of a teaspoon of honey, or drink it cold mixed with apple juice.
Part 2 of 3: Get Rid of Coughs with Medicines
Step 1. Take a decongestant
This medicine helps relieve cough by reducing nasal congestion, drying out the mucus in the lungs and expanding the airways. You can take it in several ways, namely in the form of tablets, liquids and nasal sprays.
- Look for tablets and liquids containing phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine among the active ingredients.
- Excessive use of decongestants can result in a lack of moisture and lead to a dry cough.
- Only use nasal sprays for 2-3 days, otherwise you risk worsening congestion.
Step 2. Try medicated throat lozenges
Give menthol cough lozenges a try, as they tend to be the most effective. They numb the back of the throat, limiting the cough reflex and letting a fit pass first.
- As for the fat cough, horehound lozenges often prove useful. It is a bittersweet herb with expectorant properties, so it helps to expel phlegm faster, making the cough pass sooner.
- As for dry cough, you could also use red elm lozenges. They are produced with the rind of this tree. The substances it contains line the throat, thus limiting the cough reflex and putting an end to the dry one.
Step 3. Use a medicated ointment to spread on the chest
An over-the-counter ointment containing menthol or camphor generally should be able to curb a dry or oily cough.
- These ointments should be for topical use only and it is harmful to ingest them.
- Do not use medicated ointments on infants.
Step 4. Try an antitussive
Over-the-counter ones are ideal for a fat cough that occurs in the middle of the night.
- Antitussives restrain the flow of mucus that causes coughing and tell the brain to limit the reflex. They are useful if you need to temporarily stop coughing to sleep or for another reason. However, you shouldn't rely on these medications for the duration of the condition causing the cough in the first place, as they can cause mucus to become trapped in the lungs, increasing the risk of a bacterial infection developing.
- Look for an antitussive that contains dextromethorphan, pholcodine, or antihistamines.
- Be careful about the medications you use if your main symptom is a cough. The antihistamines and decongestants in cough medicines can make the mucus hard and dry, making it more difficult to clear it from the airways.
- Do not give cough medicines to children under 4 years of age.
Step 5. Use an expectorant
This medicine will dilute the mucus, so that you can cough it out. It is useful if you have a cough accompanied by thick phlegm.
Do not give cough medicines to children under the age of 4 as they can cause serious side effects
Part 3 of 3: Other Methods
Step 1. Drink fluids
Hydration is important for both oily and dry coughs. It helps dilute the mucus that ends up in the throat, causing coughing. Any drink is fine, except alcohol, caffeinated drinks (which can cause dryness), and citrus juices (which can irritate the throat).
- Try to drink the equivalent of 8 8-ounce glasses of water a day, at least when you have a cough.
- Note that this is the only treatment to be used for children between the ages of 3 months and 1 year. They should only take 5-15ml of clear fluids up to 4 times a day. Try warm water or apple juice.
Step 2. Inhale some warm steam
Take a hot shower and inhale the steam. It can help relieve nasal congestion, which can directly affect the chest and cause a cough. Additionally, steam can hydrate a dry environment, another potential cause of coughing. In the evening, turn on a humidifier and inhale the warm steam.
- This method is useful for a cough caused by a cold, allergy and asthma.
- Humidifiers should be cleaned regularly. If not, they can do more harm than good. Mold, other fungi and bacteria can proliferate in the appliance and then be transferred into the air with the steam.
Step 3. Change the way you cough
As soon as you feel the cough coming, you may instinctively start coughing hard and deeply. However, getting to this type of cough gradually can help you break free before an attack. This method is especially useful if it is a fat cough. When a coughing fit begins, it begins to emit a series of small, light strokes. You won't generate much mucus at this stage. At the end of the series of small strokes, give a harder one. The taps move the mucus to the top of the airways, and the hardest blow will be able to expel it.
Coughing like this will prevent your throat from becoming irritated further. Since a sore throat is more likely to cause a persistent cough, soothing the irritation should help you get rid of the ailment earlier
Step 4. Eliminate airborne irritants
Chronic cough is often caused or made worse by irritants found in the environment. These elements can chronically irritate the sinuses, leading to a chronic cough due to excess mucus. The most obvious irritant to avoid is tobacco smoke.
Perfumes and spray deodorants for the bathroom are also known to trigger a chronic cough, so they should be avoided for at least the period in which you have the infection, if you want to eliminate it faster
- Remember that antibiotics are rarely, if ever, used to treat coughs. These medicines only serve to kill bacteria, so they are ineffective against a viral cough or one that was not caused by an illness. Your doctor will only prescribe this drug if they suspect that your cough is a symptom of a bacterial infection.
- If you have trouble breathing, use an inhaler and keep one handy.
- Beverages such as coffee or black tea can inhibit immune functions.
- When trying to stay hydrated with water, drink lukewarm water, as the cold will irritate your throat.