Coughing is a natural reflex that occurs when something irritates your throat or airway. Occasionally to cough are normal and even healthy as they help the body flush out accumulated mucus and dirt. However, that doesn’t make them any less painful or taxing.
Most common causes Coughs are:
- Irritation from sources such as cigarette smoke or pollutants
- Bacterial infections such as bronchitis or sinusitis
- Viral diseases such as the common cold or the flu
Coughs due to asthma, infections, and allergies should be treated by a doctor. However, if your cough persists or is due to irritation after a viral infection, here are eight tips for home treatment.
1. Take honey
Honey is highly viscous and has a similar effect to a cough drop. When consumed, it covers the lining of the throat and relieves pain or scratches. Most of the types of honey that are being studied for treating coughs are dark honeys, such as dark buckwheat honey, rather than the commonly available clover honey.
A 2007 study The journal, published in the journal Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, found that honey was more effective than dextromethorphan, a widely used cough suppressant that is generally not recommended for children – especially under 6 years of age – in treating nighttime coughs.
The study consisted of 105 children between the ages of two and 18 years. Thirty minutes before the children went to bed, their parents gave either a dose of honey, dextromethorphan, or no treatment at all. Honey was the most effective treatment for reducing the severity of the child’s cough and improving their sleep.
Honey also has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties – which can contribute to its relieving effect. These properties help fight off infection and can strengthen your immune system.
While you can easily consume honey, adding it to warm tea can increase its soothing effects on the throat.
However, children under one year of age should not ingest honey as it may contain bacteria that cause it Infant botulism, a rare but life-threatening disease.
2. Gargle salt water
Gargling salt water can help Kill bacteria and loosen mucus in your throat. Loosening the mucus in your throat will help clear your sinuses and get rid of your cough faster.
A saltwater gargle can also help reduce swelling and irritation from persistent coughing. For best results, add a quarter to a half one teaspoon of salt to an 8 ounce glass of water.
Although most people prefer to gargle warm salt water, cold water can have the same relieving effects on your cough. “It really just comes down to what feels best for each person to relieve the cough they’re having,” she says Jason McKnight, MD, clinical professor at Texas A&M University. However, warm water can help the salt dissolve faster.
3. Try ginger
Like honey, the bioactive compounds in ginger have Antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger also has a tangy taste that stimulates saliva production, and can help improve a dry mouth or throat.
Responses to consuming spices, herbs, and spicy foods can vary among people with a cough, according to McKnight. For some it may be helpful, for others it can be more irritating and make your hacking worse.
Most people consume ginger through fresh or dry ginger roots. However, you can also take it as a supplement in a capsule or tincture formulation.
For additional cough relief, try adding ginger and honey to your tea.
4. Inhale some steam
Inhaling steam helps Loosen the stuffy nose. This makes it easier to blow the nose and releases any accumulated mucus in the throat in the event of a postnasal drip. Because steam can moisturize sore throatit can also provide pain relief.
For temporary relief, try inhaling steam from a boiling pot of water. Once the water starts producing steam, remove it from the stove and place your face over it. Place a towel over your head to catch the steam. However, be careful not to get too close or you may get burned. You can also achieve a similar effect by taking a hot shower.
A humidifier can also be a great option for keeping your sinuses clear in winter or in a dry climate. humidifier Add moisture to the air by releasing water vapor or steam into a room.
The size of your humidifier determines how much area it covers. McKnight says they usually only add enough moisture for a room, so it’s best to keep it in a place where you spend most of your time, such as the bedroom.
When using a humidifier, you need to change the water frequently and keep it clean to prevent mold or bacteria from accidentally spreading around your home.
To find a humidifier, check out our Insider Reviews buying guide for that best humidifier.
5. Invest in an air purifier
air cleaner Remove allergens from your home that cause sneezing, coughing, and a runny nose. They move the air in your home through a series of filters that remove mold, bacteria, or dust and create fresh, clean air.
McKnight says air purifiers can be especially helpful for people who suffer from them Seasonal allergies. Like humidifiers, air purifiers are typically only effective in one room. So remember to place them wisely. It is also important to clean the air purifiers regularly to make sure the filters are working properly.
If you’re interested in a purchase, Insider Reviews also provides a buying guide for that best air purifier.
6. Use marshmallow root
Marshmallow root is intended as a herbal supplement soothe irritated mucous membranes located in the throat and mouth. The roots and leaves of marshmallow contain a thick substance called slime. When mucus is mixed with water, it forms a gel-like texture that can cover the throat in a manner similar to honey.
A 2018 study Published in Complementary Medicine Research of over 800 participants, both lozenges and marshmallow root extract found in the treatment of dry cough. Most of the participants saw their symptoms improve within 10 minutes of taking the extract.
Marshmallow root is available in dried leaf form, teas, tinctures, or capsules.
7. Consume thyme
Thyme is an herb that is believed to relieve smooth muscle spasms, including those caused by coughing.
A 2006 study The German journal Drug Research found that combined treatment for thyme and ivy improved the cough and other symptoms of acute bronchitis.
To relieve the cough, thyme can be consumed as a tincture, herbal tea, or in pill form.
8. Drink water
One of the easiest and safest ways to improve your cough is to stay hydrated. Drinking water helps thin mucusSo it can leave the body through the mouth or nose. It can also help sick people replace lost fluids by sweating or having them a runny nose.
For more information, see How much water should you drink per day? for optimal health and hydration.
When to see a doctor
McKnight recommends seeing a doctor if your cough has any of the following symptoms:
- Trouble holding your breath
- Coughing up blood or discolored mucus
- a headache
It’s not uncommon for a cough to continue even after you stop feeling sick, he says Susan Roberman, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor at Texas A&M University.
However, if your cough lasts for several weeks, you should also see your doctor as it may be due to a more serious health condition such as heart or lung disease.
Although some home remedies, such as drinking tea with honey or gargling warm salt water, can help relieve short-term cough symptoms, they do not treat an underlying condition. For this reason, Roberman recommends treating any illness or condition that may be causing the cough before working on symptom relief.
“If your cough is caused by smoking or tobacco use, no home remedy will help,” says Roberman. Likewise, she says if your cough is the result of allergies, asthma, or an infection, you should try taking medication for the underlying condition before relying on these home remedies.