Coughing plays a crucial role in clearing infections and irritants from your body. But if the cough becomes persistent, it can be uncomfortable and annoying.
The causes of a cough include acid reflux, infection and allergies, and the treatment varies depending on its underlying cause. When accompanied by other symptoms like fever and headache, you need to consult your doctor immediately. Otherwise, there are some cough remedies for adults that you can try.
Read further to learn about these helpful remedies, along with tips to prevent a cough and the signs that it’s time to see a doctor.
8 Cough Remedies
1. Proper hydration
Staying hydrated is of utmost importance if you are suffering from cough and colds. Drinking fluids, especially warm water, will alleviate not just your cough, but sneezing and a runny nose as well. Other beverages you can drink include herbal teas, clear broths, and warm fruit juices.
Some research has shown that honey relieves coughing by coating the throat, which results in less irritation. You just have to mix two teaspoons of honey with warm water or with your herbal tea. Drink this beverage at least once a day.
Ginger can soothe dry cough because it has anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that it contains compounds that can make the airway membranes relaxed, thus reducing your coughing episodes. All you have to do is to brew fresh ginger slices. You can improve its taste by adding lemon juice or honey.
4. Salt-water gargle
This is a simple yet effective treatment for coughs and sore throat. It helps reduce mucus and phlegm in the back of your throat, which then soothes coughing. Gargle a mixture of warm water and a teaspoon of salt numerous times every day until your cough and colds improve.
Peppermint is known for its healing properties. Its menthol scent soothes a sore throat and helps break down mucus. You can inhale peppermint vapors through a steam bath or you can drink peppermint tea.
Studies have shown that the essence extracted from the leaves of thyme relieves coughing, especially when combined with ivy. Thyme leaves contain flavonoids, a compound known to relax the muscles involved in coughing. You can add two teaspoons of crushed thyme leaves to a cup of boiling water. Leave the mixture for at least 10 minutes before straining.
Coughs caused by allergens are best treated with antihistamines as they block the chemical that triggers your coughing. They can also help improve cold symptoms. However, they work better if combined with decongestants.
Remember that some antihistamines will make you drowsy, so you should know the side effects before taking any. Moreover, take extra precautions when taking the medication while operating machinery or driving.
8. Cough medications
There are two types of cough medications: cough suppressants and expectorants. As the name implies, cough suppressants will suppress your cough reflex. Expectorants, on the other hand, help bring up phlegm, mucus and other materials from your airway. It thins the mucus and lubricates your airway to help easily drain your irritated respiratory tract.
Preventing a Cough and Cold
Getting a cough is inevitable, but there are ways to reduce the risk. These include:
- Washing your hands regularly with soap and water
- Maintaining a safe distance from sick people
- Reducing stress
- Using a disinfectant
- Taking essential vitamins and minerals
- Getting enough sleep
When to Consult a Doctor
Your cough should go away in a few days. But if it persists for at least three weeks without even improving, despite taking cough medications and implementing other cough remedies, seek medical attention ASAP.
You must also consult your doctor when you have a cough and you also experience the following:
- Significant weight loss
- Presence of lumps in your neck area
- Difficulty swallowing/breathing
- Coughing up blood
- A permanent change in your voice
- Continuous fever
- Chest pain
Generally, a cough will clear up on its own because your immune system will deal with it, especially if it is caused by a virus. Today, you don’t have to suffer from persistent coughing because there are lots of ways to get rid of a cough. But if your cough and cold does not improve in a couple of days or is accompanied by other health symptoms, it is best to seek medical help ASAP.