How to get rid of a cough
Coughs help gets rid of irritants, phlegm, and infections from the body, but incessant coughing can be annoying. The underlying cause of your cough will help the doctor knows the best treatment for you. Some possible causes of coughs are bacterial infections, allergies, and acid reflux. Also, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can bring about a cough.
Similarly, over-the-counter drugs can be used to treat coughs associated with allergies, colds, and sinus infections. Antibiotics are mostly used in the treatment of bacterial infections. An individual can use some natural home remedies to relieve a cough.
Have in mind that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t monitor the effectiveness of herbs and supplements in the treatment of coughs and people who use them may be at risk of using low-quality products and impurities.
If you’re to use natural remedies to treat your cough, make sure you do thorough research sources and brands to be on a safer side. You should also know that some herbs and supplements may impede the effectiveness of drugs taken and also bring about undesired side effects.
If you know your cough doesn’t go away after 2-3 weeks, immediately consult your doctor for optimal advice and treatment. For people who don’t like drugs, you can choose from the lists of our proven home remedies to help you feel relieved from continuous coughing.
Best proven foods for coughs
Honey is also a suitable remedy for sore throat. Several studies have discovered the usefulness of honey tea in treating cough. A study which monitors the treatments for nighttime coughing among children compared cough-suppressing drugs with dark honey and with no treatment.
From the study, honey was found to be the most significant in relieving cough, followed by dextromethorphan. It was also known that the benefits honey had over dextromethorphan wasn’t that much and parents preferred honey to others three interventions immensely.
Similarly, another study shows how honey was more effective in relieving coughs than over-the-counter drugs that contain dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant).
Perform this little home remedy for the treatment of coughs:
- Add 2 spoonfuls of honey to warm water or an herbal tea
- Shake vigorously for it to mix properly
- Drink its mixture once or twice daily
You’re advised never to give honey to kids under 1 year of age.
Drinking enough fluids
Drinking enough liquids is very important for people with cold or cough. Research shows that drinking liquids at room temperature can relieve a cough, sneezing, and runny nose. Warming up of beverages may be beneficial for individuals with additional symptoms of flu or a cold.
The same study deduced that hot beverages relieve even more symptoms, such as chills, sore throat, and fatigue. Its symptom relief was immediate and lasted for a continued period after consuming the hot beverage. The following are comforting hot beverages you must consume:
- Herbal teas
- Warm water
- Clear broths
- Decaffeinated black tea
- Warm fruit juices
Why not prepare your own home remedy by mixing up 2 tablespoonfuls of honey together with herbal tea or warm water and lemon? The honey can serve as soothing, while the lemon juice can help with congestion.
You can also consume the honey by using a spoon or spreading it on bread as snacks.
Marshmallow is a perennial plant that is made from Althaea officinalis and it grows immensely during summer. The leaves and roots of this plant have been used since ancient times to treat sore throats and relieve coughs. This herb contains mucilage, which coats the throat and soothes irritation. Mucilage is known as a thick, gluey substance that coats the throat.
A study shows that an herbal cough syrup that has marshmallow root, together with thyme and ivy, effectively relieved coughs arising from common colds and respiratory tract infections. It was found that 90 percent of the participants rated its effectiveness as good or very good, after taking the syrup for 12 days.
Marshmallow root can also be available as a dried herb, a bagged tea, or in capsule form. You can add hot water to either and then drink it immediately or allow it to cool first. The longer this herb steeps in the water, the more mucilage will be in the drink. Stomach upset may surface as one of its side effects, but you can avoid this by drinking extra fluids. Marshmallow root shouldn’t be consumed by children.
Bromelain (found in pineapples)
The enzyme, bromelain is gotten from pineapples. It is the most predominant in the core of the fruit. Bromelain has anti-inflammatory properties and may also contain mucolytic properties, which means that it can break down mucus and get rid of it from the body. You don’t usually think of pineapple as a cough remedy because you’ve never heard of bromelain unless you would have been consuming it daily to help ease the cough.
Research shows that bromelain can help relieve coughs as well as loosen the mucus in your throat. If you want to enjoy maximum benefits of bromelain and pineapple, consume a slice of pineapple or drink 3.5 ounces of a freshly prepared pineapple juice thrice daily. Some people consume pineapple juice daily to reduce mucus in the throat and suppress coughing. But there may not be enough bromelain in the juice to relieve symptoms.
You can also find bromelain supplements effective at relieving cough. However, it is advisable you speak with your doctor before taking any new supplements. Some people may be allergic to bromelain, and this herb can have adverse effects and interact with drugs. If you know you love taking blood thinners or specific antibiotics, refrain from taking bromelain.
Also, there are claims that this herb can relieve sinusitis and allergy-based sinus problems, which can bring about coughs and mucus. But unfortunately, there’s not enough evidence to support this claim. It’s also sometimes used in the treatment of swelling and inflammation in the body.
This plant leaves are widely known for its healing properties. The presence of menthol in peppermint help soothes the throat and serves as a decongestant, helping to break down mucus with ease. Why not drink peppermint tea or inhale peppermint vapors from a steam bath to enjoy this benefit?
Here is how to prepare a steam bath:
- Add 3 or 4 drops of peppermint oil into every 150 ml of hot water.
- Drape a towel over your head, and take deep breaths directly above the water for effective result.
Avoid foods that can trigger acid reflux
Trying to avoid foods that can trigger acid reflux in your body is one of the best ways to manage this condition and reduces your chance of developing a cough. Have it in mind that every individual may have different reflux triggers that they need to avoid. If you are unsure of what causes your reflux, you can start by getting rid of the most common triggers from your diet and monitor your symptoms.
Here are the foods and beverages that trigger acid reflux rapidly:
- Citrus foods
- Onions and garlic
- Spices and spicy foods
- Fried and fatty foods
- Tomatoes and tomato-based products
N-acetylcysteine is a supplement that is derived from the amino acid L-cysteine. When you take a daily dose, it helps lessen the frequency and severity of your wet cough by reducing mucus in your airways.
A meta-analysis of 13 studies deduced that N-acetylcysteine can significantly and consistently reduce symptoms in people with severe bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis is known as a prolonged inflammation of the airways that brings about a mucus, cough build-up, and several symptoms. It was found that a daily dose of 600 mg of NAC was suitable for people without airway obstruction, and up to 1,200 mg for people with an obstruction.
This supplement (NAC) can have severe adverse effects, such as swelling, hives, difficulty in breathing, and fever. You are advised to speak to your doctor first if you have this approach in mind.
Ginger contains anti-inflammatory properties, which may help ease a dry or asthmatic cough. It may also alleviate pain and nausea.
A study deduced that some anti-inflammatory compounds present in ginger can relax membranes in the airways, which could reduce coughing immensely. However, more research is needed to ascertain the effects of ginger on animals and human cells.
You can enjoy a soothing ginger tea by adding 20-40g of fresh ginger slices to a cup of hot water. Allow it to steep for a few minutes before drinking. Add lemon juice or honey to improve its taste and further soothe a cough. Have in mind that in some cases, ginger tea can cause heartburn or stomachache.
Steam is known to improve a wet cough mostly accompanied by phlegm or mucus. You can also take a hot shower or bath and allow the bathroom to fill with steam for optimal result. Stay in this steam for a few minutes until symptoms subside. You can then take a glass of water afterward to cool down and prevent dehydration.
Similarly, you can also make a steam bowl. Follow these procedures:
Fill a large bowl with hot water.
Add herbs or essential oils, like rosemary or eucalyptus, which may also alleviate decongestion. You can lean over the bowl and place a towel over your head. This helps trap the steam. You can inhale the vapors for 5 minutes. Where the steam feels hot on your skin, discontinue until your skin cools down completely.
Why not follow the recommendations of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and use a cool-mist humidifier or steam vaporizer in your home if you have a wet cough or chest congestion?
A solution of salt and water gargle
It is an easy home remedy that helps ease a sore throat and wet cough. A salt and water gargle help reduces mucus and phlegm in the back of your throat which can reduce your chance of coughing. Try mixing 1/4 to 1/2 spoonful of salt with 8 ounces of warm water to help relieve irritation. Do this each day until the cough improves.
Never give children under age 6 years saltwater as they may not be able to gargle properly, and taking in of the saltwater can be harmful to them.
Thyme can be used by some for treating respiratory illnesses. This plant leaves have both medicinal and culinary use and are a common remedy for a cough, bronchitis, a sore throat, and digestive problems. A study deduced that a cough syrup consisting of thyme and ivy leaves relieved coughing immensely and more rapidly than a placebo syrup in people with acute bronchitis.
You can prepare thyme tea at home using 2 spoonfuls of crushed thyme leaves and a cup of hot water. Cover the cup, steep for 10 minutes before straining and drinking. Similarly, you can use a cough syrup that contains thyme to treat coughs using this herb.
Slippery elm is similar to marshmallow root as it has a high level of mucilage, which helps to soothe a cough and sore throat. Their barks are used by Native Americans traditionally in the treatment of cough and digestive issues.
Slippery elm can be found in health stores in powder and capsule form. You can prepare slippery elm tea by adding 1 teaspoon of the dried herb to a cup of boiling water. Steep it for a minimum of 10 minutes before drinking. Have in mind that consumption of slippery elm can impede the proper functioning of medications.
However, probiotics don’t directly relieve a cough but may improve your immune system by balancing the bacteria in your gut. A superior immune system can assist in fighting off infections or allergens that may be causing the cough. Research shows that Lactobacillus, a special type of probiotic offers a modest benefit in preventing the common cold.
- Natural yogurt
- Miso soup
You are advised to take probiotic supplements in addition to consuming foods rich in probiotics. This is because the number and diversity of probiotic units in foods can vary immensely. Supplements having lactobacillus and other probiotics are available in drug and health stores.
When can I see a doctor?
You can see your doctor when you observe the following signs and symptoms:
- Feeling chills
- Having fever over 102oF
- Feeling weak
- Coughing blood
- Cough is accompanied with difficulties in breathing
- Having a foul-smelling green or yellow phlegm
- Feeling dehydrated
- Having prolonged fever that lasts more than 3 days
How to prevent coughs (common colds)
However, it’s not easy to avoid coughing, but you can follow the following tips to minimize your risk:
Always wash your hands regularly: Soap and warm water should be used to get rid of bacteria and viruses from your skin. Make sure your kids are taught how to wash their hands properly. If possible, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer could be used while being away from home.
Try staying hydrated: Why not drink enough water, herbal teas, and other beverages to avoid being dehydrated?
Get adequate rest: Learn to sleep for at least 7 or 9 hours each night to stay fit and healthy.
Avoid direct contact with people who are sick: Maintaining a healthy distance from people who have flu, common cold, or a cough makes you unable to contact it.
Cultivate the habit of using disinfectant: Learn to clean the kitchen and bathroom regularly with a disinfectant when any family member falls ill. You can also wash your towels, beddings, and soft toys using a hot wash.
Limit stress: When you stress yourself too much, your immune system will be weak and you’ll definitely fall sick easily. Try exercising regularly, do deep breathing, meditate, and try progressive muscle relaxation techniques.
Taking some immune-boosting supplements: Why not take vitamin C, zinc, and probiotics during cold and flu season to avoid being susceptible to illness? Some allergy symptoms may appear like that of a cold. Refrain from triggers like dust mites, pollen, mold, and animal dander. You can visit your medical doctor to have them give you allergy medications or shots.