How To Treat Coughs
Dry, Tickly And Throaty Coughs

treatments for minor conditions

woman coughing

10 Cough Treatments


How To Treat Coughs
When To See A Doctor

Related Articles:

How to treat colds
How to treat flu
How to treat sore throats
Respiratory system explained


Lemon and Ginger Tea

How To Treat Coughs

People cough for many reasons. If the cough is a symptom of a cold or flu, the cough should be treated as little as possible because the purpose of coughing is to get rid of the mucus and bugs traveling down the windpipe. If the cough is suppressed by medication, then nature cannot do its job. The cough will usually clear up once the virus is eliminated from your body. If coughing is keeping you awake at night then some of the following treatments may help:

10 Cough Treatments

1. Cough Medicines
There is little evidence that cough syrups actually work, which is one of the reasons why doctors only recommend trying them if coughing keeps you awake at night. There are 3 types of cough medicines: suppressants (act on the brain to hold back the cough reflex, for dry coughs), expectorants (help bring phlegm up so that coughing is easier, for chesty coughs) and medicines rubbed to the skin (such as Vicks Vapor Rub).

2. Extra Pillows
Lie on several pillows at night to help control night time coughing. Tickly coughs in particular tend to be worse when you lie flat.

3. Herbal Teas
Tea made from fresh thyme is a traditional remedy for treating all types of coughs including whooping cough. To prepare, steep sprigs of fresh thyme in a cup of boiling water and allow to cool. You can remove the thyme before drinking. Other options include lemon/ginger and lemon/honey. To prepare, steep one slice of fresh lemon and a piece of ginger (or one teaspoon of honey) in a cup of boiling water. Again, allow to cool down slightly before drinking.

4. Drink Fluids
Drink plenty of water to keep the throat lubricated. It may also help dislodge phlegm associated with throaty coughs.

5. Licorice
Drinking licorice tea or sucking on a licorice stick can be very calming for the throat. It has anti-viral and anti-septic properties.

6. Manuka Honey
Eat one teaspoon of Manuka honey before each meal to help coat the throat. It also has great antiseptic properties.

7. Pineapple
Eating pineapple (fresh or canned) can help break up mucus associated with throaty coughs. It also helps make breathing easier.

8. Aloe Vera Juice
Drink 2 tablespoons of aloe vera juice everyday to soothe the throat and boost your immune system.

9. Zinc Lozenges
Zinc lozenges, available in most drug stores, are good for soothing tickly coughs. Suck one every 3 to 4 hours. Some zinc lozenges now also include vitamins A and C, bee propolis, echinacea and slippery elm.

10. Get A Humidifier
The dry air in the wintertime tends to make coughs worse. A humidifier will put moisture back into the air. Put the machine into your bedroom and switch it on at night-time or when coughing is worse.

When To See A Doctor

1. A cough that occurs for hours and is not controlled by a suppressant should be reported to your doctor. Any wheezing or breathing difficulties should also be reported. Asthma can sometimes develop out of the blue in people with severe flu that turns into a respiratory infection.
2. A cough that lasts longer than 2 weeks.
3. You cough up blood. While it is not unusual to cough up tiny streaks of blood with a chest infection and severe cold, you should still have it checked.
4. If the infection has spread to the chest and you are coughing up green phlegm. You may have developed a bacteria infection and need antibiotics.
5. If you develop chest pain and shortness of breath.

Other Advice

• A persistent cough that flares after eating foods containing sugar, wheat or gluten may be linked to Candida or food intolerance.

• If you start wheezing after exercising or eating, you may have developed a touch of asthma.

Back to: How to treat common illnesses.

  Related Articles on Minor Illnesses

For more advice, see the following:

How to reduce body temperature: If you have a fever.
How to treat earaches: Adults and children.
How to treat sinus infections: Blocked nose and headaches.

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