How To Control A Cough (with Pictures)

Coughing is the body’s natural response to mucus accumulation and congestion behind the nose. While a natural part of colds and allergies, a persistent cough can be very annoying and cause you to feel uncomfortable. If you have been coughing for several weeks and it is accompanied by symptoms such as fever, fatigue and phlegm, you should see a doctor to see if you have an infection in your respiratory tract. If not, you can try calming a nagging cough with some home remedies and over-the-counter remedies.

Drink Enough Fluids

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Drink lots of water. Upper respiratory tract infections can cause mucus to build up behind the nose, triggering a cough. Adequate body fluids will help thin mucus due to upper respiratory tract infections. That way, the urge to cough due to mucus accumulation will decrease.

Adequate body fluids will also keep the mucous membranes moist and healthy, which is very helpful for dry throats and nasal passages in the dry season. A dry mouth and throat can cause irritation that triggers a cough.

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Drink hot tea with honey. Hot drinks can soothe a sore and irritated throat caused by a constant cough. Honey is a natural cough reliever. In fact, studies show that honey is as effective as cough syrups containing dextromethorphan in relieving coughs at night.

The hot liquid will help loosen the mucus in the throat. Use herbal teas such as peppermint or eucalyptus to help loosen mucus and relieve coughs.

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Try the chicken soup. If your cough is caused by a cold, chicken soup can help reduce the congestion. Researchers have shown that chicken broth has certain anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve nasal congestion.

The soup will help loosen the mucus that causes irritation and coughing.

The warm soup will also help soothe irritated tissues at the back of the throat.

Trying Natural Herbs

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Ask your doctor’s opinion about herbal remedies. Several herbal medicines have been used traditionally to treat coughs. However, because this herbal medicine can interact with other health conditions and prescription drugs, you should always consult with your doctor or pharmacist to ensure its safe use. Most herbal remedies you can find in health food stores or drug stores. Consider the following herbal remedies:

Marshmallows . Not the fluffy white treats you usually dip in hot chocolate, but marshmallow plants that contain the compound mucilage. This compound can help relieve throat irritation and is commonly available as a tea, tincture, or capsule.

Slippery elm . Slippery elm can help stimulate the production of mucus so that it is thin enough and does not irritate the throat. This herbal remedy is available in the form of tablets, capsules, lozenges, teas, and extracts.

Licorice root . Not the candy. Licorice root is a natural remedy for coughs and sore throats. However, the active ingredient in it, glycyrrhiza can cause serious side effects. So, if your doctor states that licorice root is safe to use, look for deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) which is available in tincture, caplet, tea, or extract form.

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Thyme. Thyme can help relieve coughs and acute bronchitis. Do not drink thyme oil as it is toxic. However, brew tea from fresh or dried thyme leaves, then drink the liquid.

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Add probiotics to your diet. Probiotics won’t cure coughs directly, but they can help relieve and even prevent colds and flu, as well as pollen allergies. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the strains you should be looking for.

Look for yogurt and other products fortified with probiotics. You can also take probiotic supplements.

People with weakened immune systems or those taking immunosuppressant drugs should consult their doctor before using probiotics.

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Try spirulina. Spirulina is a strain of blue-green algae that can help the body fight allergies by inhibiting the release of histamine. That way, spirulina can help relieve coughs caused by allergies.

People with weakened immune systems or those taking immunosuppressant drugs should consult their doctor before using spirulina.

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Try using saline to run your nose. Flushing the sinus passages with saline can help relieve coughing by removing secretions that have accumulated behind the nose and cause irritation. You can buy ready-to-use saline at most pharmacies or drug stores, or you can make your own.

To make your own saline solution, dissolve teaspoon of table salt in a cup of warm water. Wet a clean washcloth with the saline solution.

Place the washcloth over your nose and inhale. Alternatively, you can use a neti pot or syringe to introduce fluid into the sinus passages.

Adjusting the Surroundings

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Use steam to clear a stuffy nose. You can do this by taking a hot shower or inhaling the steam from the hot water. This method is safe and very effective in temporarily relieving nasal congestion.

Steam can help relieve coughs by loosening secretions in the nose and airways.

This can help relieve coughs from colds, as well as allergies, asthma, and lower respiratory infections.

Adding a few drops of peppermint or eucalyptus oil to the water, or using a bath ball containing menthol may also help clear a stuffy nose.

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Try using a humidifier . Dry air indoors can thicken nasal secretions that cause coughing. A humidifier is a device that can humidify the air in the house. This method is safe and very effective in temporarily relieving nasal congestion. Restoring humidity can help relieve coughing by loosening mucus in your nasal passages and chest.

Just don’t overuse it. Air that is too humid can encourage the growth of mold and mildew in the house. Allergies to both can actually make coughing worse.

Try using a humidifier only at night. Clean the humidifier frequently so that mold doesn’t live in it.

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Remove irritants from the house. Products containing fragrances, cigarettes, and allergens can cause a chronic cough. Some people find scented candles and air fresheners to be irritating to the nose as well. This can lead to a buildup of mucus and ultimately, a cough.

Cigarettes are an irritant that is quite common to cause coughing. Quit smoking, or ask other people who smoke in the house to quit or smoke outside.

If you are allergic to pets or mold, be aware of both at home. Clean damp surfaces frequently to prevent mold growth and remove animal hair.

Keep your surroundings clean and dust free to avoid irritation.

Using Over-the-counter Drugs

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Use lozenges. Candy like this is available in many flavors and can help suppress a cough for a while. Try lozenges that contain menthol as it is a natural cough suppressant. Menthol can help soothe the back of the throat as well as get rid of irritants that cause coughing.

If you can’t stand the taste of lozenges, you can suck on hard candies, which can also help relieve some of the irritation from coughing.

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Try an over-the-counter decongestant. Decongestants will relieve nasal congestion by reducing swelling in the airways and reducing mucus. Decongestants will also dry up mucus in the chest and reduce coughing in the chest.

These medications are available in tablet, liquid, and spray forms.

Look for medications that contain the active ingredients phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine.

Be aware that these two active ingredients can increase blood pressure, so people with hypertension should be careful in using them.

Spray decongestants should only be used 2-3 times a day because in the long term it can cause blockages to recur.

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Try cough suppressants or phlegm thinners. If your cough doesn’t go away and is causing pain and irritation, cough suppressants can help reduce the cough. While phlegm-thinning drugs can help thin the mucus in the chest and nose so that it is easier to expel when coughing.

Look for cough suppressants that contain dextromethorphan.

This medication may cause drowsiness, so only use it at night.

If your cough is accompanied by thick phlegm, try a blood-thinning medication such as guaifenesin.

Controlling Cough Due to Acid Reflux

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Determine if your cough is caused by acid reflux. GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (sometimes referred to as acid reflux or acid reflux disease) is a common cause of persistent cough that doesn’t go away. GERD causes the stomach to relax and stomach acid back into the throat through the esophagus, the result is a burning sensation in the chest, pain, and coughing. Coughs from acid reflux tend to be more severe in the morning.

GERD, asthma, and accumulation of mucus behind the nose are responsible for about 90{0cab0315eb88983cc6345dfecff4f621a8cecabbfee422d927279c9ad2a3b209} of chronic coughs.

Common symptoms of GERD include a burning sensation in the chest, a sour taste in the mouth, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, sore throat, and a feeling like a lump in the throat, especially after eating.

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Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight will increase the pressure on the stomach, making GERD symptoms worse. Ask your doctor if you are at a healthy weight. If not, the doctor can recommend a diet and exercise program that is suitable for your health and body condition.

Getting plenty of aerobic exercise and eating a balanced diet of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat protein are great ways to maintain a healthy weight.

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Avoid tight clothing. Tight clothing can increase the pressure on the stomach so that stomach acid flows back up into the throat and triggers a cough.

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Elevate your head. Sleeping with your head elevated can help control the burning sensation in your chest as well as relieve coughing triggered by GERD. Use a few extra pillows to support the head or elevate the head of the bed with a block or other support.

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Eat well before bed. Lying down immediately after eating can trigger GERD symptoms, including coughing. Wait at least 3-4 hours after eating before you go to bed. Remain seated or standing straight for at least 30 minutes after eating.

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Avoid triggers. GERD can be triggered by certain foods and drinks. While it may vary from person to person, common triggers for GERD include:





Garlic and onions


Fatty or fried food

Seeking Medical Help

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Know when to visit the doctor. A chronic cough lasts for more than 8 weeks in adults and more than 4 weeks in children. If you can’t get over your cough after trying everything, or if your cough lasts more than a few weeks, call your doctor to schedule a check-up.

Coughing can interfere with sleep and rest as well as your health. See a doctor if your cough is interfering with sleep and nighttime cough medicine doesn’t work.

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Recognize the signs of a serious cough. Most coughs go away on their own, or with little treatment. However, in certain cases, you should immediately seek medical attention to treat cough. Consult a doctor as soon as possible, or seek emergency medical attention if any of these symptoms accompany your cough:

Blood in saliva or phlegm

Bad smell in saliva or phlegm

Weight loss

Sweat at night


Hard to breathe


Chest pain

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Call your pediatrician to treat coughs in children. Many cough treatments and medications are not safe for children, especially infants and toddlers. Many doctors do not recommend using over-the-counter cough relievers in children. If your child’s cough does not improve, consult a pediatrician to find out the recommended treatment.

Humidifiers can help clear a stuffy nose and saline can help clear sinus passages. This treatment is usually safe for children.

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