Ways to Ease a Nagging Cough
Coughing is a common symptom associated with colds and the flu. It is a natural reflex response of the body to clear the airways from irritants and mucus.
However, frequent coughing can be uncomfortable and affect daily activities. Fortunately, there are several ways to ease a cough and alleviate its symptoms.
Drinking fluids is essential when trying to ease a cough. Water and other clear fluids can help thin out mucus buildup in the chest and throat, making it easier to cough up. Warm fluids, such as hot tea with honey or chicken soup, can also help soothe the throat and alleviate coughing. Avoid drinks that can irritate the throat, such as alcohol and caffeine, as they can worsen a cough.
Rest is crucial when trying to ease a cough. The body needs time to recover from illness, and getting enough sleep can help strengthen the immune system and alleviate symptoms such as coughing. Avoid strenuous activities and allow the body time to heal.
Humidify the Air
Dry air can irritate the throat and worsen a cough. Using a humidifier can add moisture to the air and help ease a cough. Humidifiers can also help relieve symptoms such as congestion and dry skin. If a humidifier is not available, taking a hot shower, or using a towel soaked in hot water and placed over the face, can also help moisten the air and ease coughing.
Salt Water Gargle
A saltwater gargle can help relieve a sore throat and ease a cough. Gargling with salt water can help reduce inflammation and irritation in the throat, making it easier to cough up mucus. Fill a glass with warm water and mix in a teaspoon of salt. Gargle the saltwater for a few seconds, spit it out, and repeat as necessary.
If coughing persists, worsens, or is accompanied by other symptoms such as chest pain, wheezing, or shortness of breath, consult a healthcare provider.
Over-the-counter medications can help ease a cough. Cough suppressants such as dextromethorphan can help reduce coughing by blocking the cough reflex. However, it’s essential to follow the dosing instructions carefully as taking too much medication can cause side effects such as dizziness and drowsiness.
Expectorants such as guaifenesin can help thin out and loosen mucus, making it easier to cough up. Medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help ease fever, sore throat, and body aches associated with the cold or flu.
Honey has been shown to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an effective cough suppressant. Adding a teaspoon of honey to warm water or tea can help soothe the throat and alleviate coughing. However, honey should not be given to children under the age of one as it can increase the risk of botulism.
Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke can irritate the throat and worsen a cough. Quitting smoking or avoiding exposure to smoke can help alleviate coughing and improve overall health. If quitting smoking seems difficult, support groups or medications can help smokers quit successfully.
Coughing is a common symptom associated with colds and the flu. Fortunately, there are several ways to ease a cough and alleviate its symptoms. Drinking fluids, resting, humidifying the air, saltwater gargling, taking over-the-counter medications, using honey, and avoiding smoking are effective ways to ease a cough and improve overall health.
It’s essential to consult a healthcare provider if coughing persists, worsens, or is accompanied by other symptoms such as chest pain, wheezing, or shortness