Coughing is a natural reflex that protects your lungs by clearing the airways of various lung irritants, such as smoke and mucus, to prevent infection. The occasional cough is a sign of a good immune system. However, a persistent cough can also be a sign of another health problem or infection, such as a cold or flu. Prolonged coughing can cause unpleasant side effects such as chest pain, fatigue, dizziness, and loss of bladder control. Coughing can also interfere with your sleep, relationships and work. You can follow these simple steps to learn some ways to help prevent and reduce the symptoms of your cough without cough syrup. Never forget to ask your doctor or pharmacist before self-medicating with supplements or herbs.
Method 1 of 7: Using Home Remedies
Step 1. Use cough gum
Cough gum contains cough suppressants. They're also a great way to keep your throat moist, a step that further prevents coughing. Cough gum is not a medicine but simply helps to activate your salivary glands which bring extra moisture to the back of your throat. Cough gum is best used for dry coughs than for coughing up phlegm.
Buy cough gum that contains ingredients such as honey, lemon, eucalyptus (eucalyptus), and mint leaves to help relieve cough symptoms
Step 2. Use a warm compress
A warm towel placed around the neck or chest can help clear blockages in the lung and nasal passages. This is because increased stimulation promotes the thinning of mucus which if not done can cause irritation in the throat. To use this method, soak a clean washcloth in warm water for three to five minutes. Squeeze out the water and place the towel on your chest or neck for five minutes. Wet the towel again in warm water, then repeat additional steps for up to 20 minutes.
- Do not apply a hot compress for more than 20 minutes unless recommended by your doctor.
- If you don't want to use a towel, you can use a gel pack or a hot water bottle for compresses. Make sure the tools are not so hot that they burn the skin-put some kind of cloth-like barrier between the heat source and the skin.
- Do not apply hot compresses if there is swelling or fever. Use an ice pack instead. People who have poor blood circulation and diabetes should be careful when using warm compresses.
Step 3. Take a warm bath
When you have a severe cough, taking a five to 10 minute warm bath or soak can relieve it by soothing your throat, encouraging mucus secretion, and relaxing sore muscles. This can help loosen the bronchial tubes by increasing moisture and moisture content, thus promoting a more productive cough. Make sure the water isn't too hot or cold, especially if you have a fever. Keeping the body clean can also help reduce the risk of further viral or bacterial infections.
Hot baths can also help children and babies with stuffy noses and sore throats
Step 4. Gargle with salt water
When you are suffering from a cough from a sore throat, gargle with warm salt water. This will help soothe a sore throat and moisten your sinuses, allowing mucus to escape and preventing postnasal drip that can trigger a cough. Put 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a glass of distilled or warm, sterile water and stir until the salt dissolves. Gargle with the water for one to two minutes, then spit it out. Don't swallow it.
- If the salt causes irritation to your mouth or throat, you can also use warm fresh distilled water to gargle.
- Repeat every few hours.
Method 2 of 7: Using Herbal Medicines
Step 1. Consume peppermint
Peppermint contains menthol which can help soothe sore throats and dry coughs and acts as a decongestant. You can find many different treatments with peppermint, such as extracts used in dietary supplements, lozenges, essential oils, and herbal teas. You can also use fresh peppermint leaves as a spice in your daily diet.
- You can drink peppermint tea up to three times a day. Peppermint oil is usually used in aromatherapy or as a rubbing oil. Never drink peppermint oil.
- Do not use peppermint or menthol for children under two years of age.
Step 2. Consume garlic
Garlic has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce inflammation in the throat and nasal cavity, and is also rich in antioxidants such as vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese which help boost immunity against infection. Garlic contains a sulfur enzyme called alliin which helps protect against viruses. Garlic is best consumed whole just like that to remove the alliin content.
- To make it easier to eat, crush the garlic in a spoonful of honey or olive oil. This step helps strengthen your immune system to reduce the chance of catching a cold if taken daily, and speeds healing when taken with a cold.
- Also try using two to four grams of chopped fresh garlic to season your food or cook the onions by heating them over low heat so they don't destroy the active compounds.
- Garlic has been shown to have other health benefits such as lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Garlic is available in many forms, such as garlic seasoning, garlic powder, and garlic salt. Too much garlic can cause bad breath and low blood pressure, so limit your consumption to two to four cloves a day.
Step 3. Eat liquorice (licorice)
Licorice root is an expectorant that has many health benefits, including the ability to reduce or stop coughs. There are several liquorice pills and serums that you can take. You can also eat one to five grams of real liquorice. Look for licorice candies with liquorice as the main ingredient, not anise or liquorice flavours.
- An alternative to just eating licorice is to make licorice tea. Soak one to five grams of licorice root in a cup of boiling water. Let it soak for three to five minutes, then strain and drink once every week.
- Do not give small children liquorice tea for more than a day without consulting a doctor. Never give liquorice tea to an infant or toddler. Licorice should also be avoided by anyone with high blood pressure, hepatitis, liver or kidney disease.
Step 4. Try blue vervain. Blue vervain works as an expectorant to loosen phlegm and mucus from the chest and throat, a move that reduces blockages and prevents coughing. Blue vervain is available as a supplement, tea, and syrup at some drug stores and pharmacies. The recommended dose for blue vervain supplements is one capsule taken with a meal with a glass of water, at least one to two times a day.
- To make the tea, soak 1/2 teaspoon of blue vervain in 240 ml of boiling water for three to five minutes. Strain and drink up to two times a day.
- Blue vervain should not be used if you are taking diuretic medications or drinking a lot of caffeine, as it can cause dehydration.
- Ask your doctor before you use blue vervain if you are pregnant, have digestive problems, or are taking other medications.
Step 5. Use elderberry extract
Due to its anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, elderberry is commonly used to treat various respiratory ailments, sore throats, coughs and fevers. Elderberry extract can be found in the form of lozenges, dietary supplement capsules, or syrup at some drug or supplement stores.
- You can also try using dried elderberry flowers as an herbal tea. Soak three to five grams of dried elderberry flowers in a cup of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink this tea up to three times per day.
- Prolonged use of elderberry is not recommended. Elderberry is a blood thinner and may not be recommended for people with low blood pressure. Only drink this tea once every two or three days.
- Do not use unripe or unripe elderberries as they can be toxic.
Step 6. Use eucalyptus tincture or aromatherapy
Eucalyptus or eucalyptus helps relieve coughs, fight respiratory infections, and reduce blockages. Eucalyptus is available in the form of vapor baths and lozenges to help soothe a sore throat. You can also try a topical ointment containing eucalyptus leaves that can be applied to the nose and chest to relieve congestion and loosen phlegm. This step helps prevent mucus from irritating the throat.
- Eucalyptus is generally safe when applied to the skin for adults.
- Use eucalyptus leaves to make tea by soaking two to four grams of dried leaves in a cup of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes. You can also use eucalyptus leaves to make a mouthwash to soothe a sore throat.
- never ever consume eucalyptus leaves or oil by mouth because it can be toxic.
Step 7. Purchase slippery elm. Slippery elm contains mucilage, a gel-like substance that coats and soothes the mouth, throat, stomach and intestines to reduce coughing. Slippery elm is available as tablets, lozenges, and powdered extracts at some herbal medicine stores. You can also make a tea by soaking a tablespoon of crushed stems in a cup of boiling water for three to five minutes, which you can drink up to three times a day.
Do not give slippery elm to young children or use it during pregnancy without consulting your doctor
Method 3 of 7: Making Lifestyle Changes
Step 1. Use a humidifier if you live in an area where the air is dry
Dry air can make cold symptoms worse, making it harder for mucus to escape and triggering a cough. Using a humidifier in your bedroom or living room adds moisture to the air to help clear your sinuses and soothe your throat. With a humidifier, try to achieve the right level of humidity. The air should have a humidity content of 30 to 50%.
- If the humidity is too high, mold and mites can breed, both of which are common causes of allergies and coughs.
- If the humidity is too low, it can cause dry eyes and throat and sinus irritation. The simplest way to measure humidity is with a measuring device called a humidistat, which can be purchased from most hardware stores.
- Both portable and built-in humidifiers must be thoroughly cleaned frequently because they are easily contaminated by mold and bacterial growth.
Step 2. Place the plant in the house
If you don't want an electric humidifier, consider keeping plants indoors. Plants can help regulate humidity in a room because of a process called transpiration, which is the process by which moisture is released from flowers, leaves, and stems. Good indoor plants include bamboo palm, aloe vera, sri fortune, various species of philodendron and suji (dracaena), and banyan.
- Indoor plants also help clear the air of carbon dioxide and pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene that can irritate your throat.
- Make sure you are not allergic to any of the plants you will be keeping indoors.
Step 3. Try an air purifier
In addition to a humidifier, air purifiers help clear the air of allergens that cause coughing. This appliance has the added bonus of keeping your home fresh and clean. Electronic air purifiers are excellent at filtering mold and pollen particles from the air by capturing them on an electrically charged dish.
Another type of cleaner, known as an ionizer, produces electrically charged ions that bind particles in the air to stick to walls, ceilings and curtains
Step 4. Sleep on your side
Sleeping can be difficult when you have a chronic cough. Getting enough sleep is important for the body to heal itself so you can get rid of your cough. Research shows that sleep deprivation can weaken the immune system, increase the production of stress hormones, put you at higher risk of chronic disease and lower life expectancy.
If you have a persistent cough, try to lie on the side of your body that is not too congested to breathe comfortably and allow mucus to escape
Step 5. Support your head on a pillow
If you're having trouble breathing while sleeping because of a cough, prop your head on a pillow to increase airflow and prevent mucus from blocking your sinuses and throat. A pillow for your head should support the natural curve of your neck and be comfortable while helping you breathe better.
A pillow that is too high can put your neck in a position that causes throat blockage and coughing, as well as muscle strain in your back, neck and shoulders
Step 6. Drink plenty of water
Water helps reduce cough-inducing behaviors such as blockage caused by colds, postnasal drip which can irritate and dry out the throat. Water moisturizes the throat and loosens mucus, making it easier to clear up problematic phlegm. Try to drink at least 240 ml every two hours. Two liters of water is the daily recommendation for the average adult. If you drink caffeinated beverages, drink one liter of water for every 240 ml of caffeine.
Not drinking enough water can also cause dehydration. Dehydration can cause headaches, irritability, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, and shortness of breath. A decaffeinated, glucose-free sports drink with electrolytes can also help relieve dehydration
Step 7. Avoid strenuous exercise
Try to avoid intense exercise if you have a cough, runny nose, fever or headache. If the intense exercise triggers your cough along with symptoms such as wheezing, chest pain, and shortness of breath, you may be suffering from exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, also known as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). This occurs when the pipes that carry air in and out of your lungs constrict during exercise, causing asthma symptoms. Some people with EIB don't have asthma, and people with allergies can also have difficulty breathing when exercising.
Consult with your doctor or an immunologist to help develop an exercise program tailored for your condition. Avoid cold, dry temperatures and changes in air pressure as these can trigger EIB
Step 8. Quit smoking
Smoking strips the body of the essential oxygen it needs to repair and build cells in the body. This occurs due to narrowing of the blood vessels that carry blood to the muscles of the legs, arms and to the brain. Smoking can cause many respiratory illnesses, chronic coughs, and even strokes. Smoking is one of the main causes of chronic cough and bronchitis, also known as smoker's cough.
Try not to inhale secondhand smoke and other harmful fumes if you have a cough or sore throat. Avoid smoking, especially when you have a headache or fever, as smoking can weaken your immune system and prolong the condition. Ask your doctor about ways to reduce and stop smoking
Method 4 of 7: Trying to Change Your Diet
Step 1. Consume honey
When you cough, drink tea or warm lemon water with honey. This drink can help soothe a sore throat and relieve your cough. Mix two teaspoons of honey with warm water or tea once in the morning and once before bed to help reduce coughing. Honey is widely available in convenience stores and herbal shops.
Do not give honey to children younger than one year because of the risk of infant botulism, a type of food poisoning
Step 2. Eat soup
Eating warm soup helps reduce inflammation in a sore throat and increases the movement of nasal secretions to reduce blockage. This is especially true if you have a persistent cough, runny nose, or fever. You can cook your own soup or buy the healthy, low-sodium variety from your local eatery. Heat the soup to a warm temperature and eat a bowl. Soup should be eaten one to three times per day until the severity of your symptoms has reduced or has completely healed.
- For an added spicy sensation that will also help reduce coughing, add chopped cayenne pepper or one to two teaspoons of cayenne pepper powder to your soup.
- You can also drink broth. Chicken and vegetable broths are the most common. You can make your own or buy from the grocery store. Be aware that purchased broth can be high in sodium. Look for types that contain little or no sodium.
- Children and infants should be given bland soup as it can reduce the risk of nausea and vomiting.
Step 3. Eat pineapple
Pineapple is rich in an enzyme called bromelain which is used in medicine to reduce swelling and inflammation of the airways to prevent mucus buildup that can cause blockage and coughing. Eating pineapple can also prevent respiratory infections that often trigger coughs. Include more fresh pineapple and pineapple juice in your daily diet to get more of the good benefits of the bromelain enzyme.
Do not eat potatoes or processed soy along with pineapple. These foods contain substances that can slow down the healing properties of bromelain in the body
Step 4. Avoid foods that cause inflammation
Certain foods can slow down the body's healing process, impair the immune system, and exacerbate inflammation. These foods also cause gastroesophageal acid reflux which can increase the severity of the cough.
Reduce or avoid foods that cause chronic inflammation such as fried foods, beef, ham, steak, sausage, margarine, fat shortening, lard, refined carbohydrates, white bread, pasta, donuts, soda and energy drinks
Step 5. Eat more foods that reduce inflammation
Although some foods can cause inflammation, certain foods can also reduce inflammation to help relieve a sore throat. Eat more fruits like strawberries, cherries, and oranges. You should also eat more healthy foods such as almonds, walnuts, salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna and olive oil. Consuming whole grains such as millet, oats, brown rice, flaxseed and quinoa will also help reduce inflammation.
- Also try more vegetables like olives, spinach, kale and broccoli.
- Fruits with citric acid can cause acid reflux, irritate the throat and trigger coughing.
Step 6. Use cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper contains Capsaicin, which has antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties to promote healing. These various properties help reduce congestion, cough and fever. People who are allergic to latex, bananas, kiwi, chestnuts, or avocados can also suffer from allergies to cayenne pepper.
- Capsaicin should not be used by people who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux, low blood sugar or those who take blood-thinning medications.
- Cayenne pepper can cause nausea and irritation in young children's throats, so avoid giving cayenne pepper or other types of chili to children and babies.
Method 5 of 7: Maintaining Personal Hygiene
Step 1. Wash your hands regularly
One of the quickest ways to get sick is to interact with sick people or go to a public place without washing your hands before touching your own face. Bacteria and viruses can spread quickly through direct contact, so it's important to wash your hands with warm water and soap regularly before and after eating, after using the bathroom, after touching your face, etc. This will also prevent you from spreading germs from yourself to others when you have a cough.
Always carry a hand sanitizer with you to help kill germs on your hands when you are in public or at work. Remind your child not to put their hands in their mouths or in their eyes, as germs often develop this way
Step 2. Use a tissue when coughing
Use a tissue when you sneeze or cough to avoid spreading germs through the air. This will also help you prevent other bacteria or viruses from entering your lungs when you inhale. If you don't have a tissue, sneeze or cough into the crease of your elbow instead of cupping your hands in front of your face.
This step also helps prevent you from spreading the disease to your hands and from your hands to other objects as well
Step 3. Avoid common allergens
Allergens irritate the sinuses causing blockages that can lead to difficulty breathing, trigger postnasal drip, and irritate the throat. Allergies occur when your immune system produces antibodies to fight free radicals by releasing chemicals such as histamine, which can cause inflammation and allergy symptoms. Flower pollen, dust, and mold are some of the most common allergens.
Other common allergens include harmful smoke, cigarettes and secondhand smoke, shellfish, shrimp, fish, eggs, milk, peanuts, wheat, soy, animal allergies caused by hair loss from common pets, insect stings, certain medications, certain substances you use or touch, and chemicals and dyes on fabrics
Method 6 of 7: Getting Professional Medical Help
Step 1. Visit a doctor
While most coughs will clear up after a few weeks, some can be a warning sign of another health problem. You should see a doctor when you have a cough if you or a loved one has a sore throat, high fever, whooping cough, or postnasal drip (condition when it feels like mucus is running down your throat). These symptoms can be signs of infection. The doctor will perform a brief physical exam which involves using a lighted instrument to view your throat, ear and nose passages, gently feeling your neck to check for swollen lymph nodes and listening to your breathing with a stethoscope.
- You should contact your doctor immediately if you have previously been diagnosed with allergies, asthma, bronchitis, heartburn, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Stones can make these diseases worse.
- Call your doctor if you are taking ACE inhibitors for heart disease and have a persistent cough. ACE inhibitors can cause coughing and this will be a sign of incompatibility with the drug. Your doctor may replace it with another medication for your blood pressure if necessary.
- Smokers may cough more frequently and should see a doctor if the cough lasts longer than three to four weeks.
- Seek emergency medical attention immediately if you cough up blood or if you have difficulty breathing.
Step 2. Do a throat swab if you also show signs of a throat infection
Your doctor may run some tests to see what exactly you have. If you have a reddened throat or have pustules at the back of your throat, your doctor may perform a throat swab, which is when a sterile swab is rubbed against the back of your throat to obtain a sample of secretions. The doctor will examine these secretions in a laboratory to find out if streptococcal bacteria are the cause of strep throat. The doctor will also check for a viral infection. This test can take from a few minutes to 48 hours to process.
Step 3. Take an x-ray of the chest
Your doctor may advise you to take a chest x-ray if you have symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, chronic cough, or fever. A chest x-ray is a rapid, painless, noninvasive test that produces pictures of the structures inside your chest, such as your heart, lungs and blood vessels. While routine x-rays won't reveal the most common reasons for coughing, they can be used to check for lung cancer, pneumonia, and other lung diseases.
- An x-ray of your sinuses can show evidence of a sinus infection.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or may become pregnant. In general, women should avoid any x-rays during pregnancy.
Step 4. See an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist
Your doctor may refer you to an ENT specialist (also called an otolaryngologist) who can examine your throat for signs of a bacterial or viral infection. A specialist may also be needed if your cough may be due to an underlying cause related to the ear, nose or throat (such as sinusitis). It's as if an ENT specialist can also perform a nasal endoscopy, a procedure that uses a fiber-optic scope to look at your sinuses to look for nasal polyps or other structural problems.
- This procedure is only needed if you have a nose infection. Your doctor may also suggest endoscopic rhinoplasty if your condition requires it.
- You should tell your doctor about any other breathing problems you may have.
- If your doctor believes that you have an infection in your lungs, you should be referred to a pulmonologist or pulmonologist.
Method 7 of 7: Diagnosing Other Health Problems Underlying Cough
Step 1. Seek immediate medical care for whooping cough
Whooping cough, also called pertussis, starts out like the common cold with a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, moderate cough, fever, and sleep apnea. After one to two weeks, a severe cough begins to appear. Whooping cough can cause a rapid, loud cough that occurs repeatedly until the air is exhausted and you are forced to inhale loudly. Sometimes it can also be accompanied by vomiting.
- You should see a doctor immediately if you have whooping cough. It is important for you to know that many babies who have whooping cough do not cough at all. Instead, the disease can cause the baby to stop breathing. Infants and children under the age of six should receive immediate medical attention.
- There is a vaccine for whooping cough. Don't forget to vaccinate your child against this disease.
Step 2. Watch for signs of a nasal infection
Cough and sore throat can also be symptoms of a nasal infection. If the doctor suspects a nasal infection, also known as sinusitis, he or she may order imaging studies that include x-rays, CT scan (computer tomography scan), or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Other common symptoms of nasal infections are fever and headache. If you have a high fever or severe headache, you should seek medical attention immediately.
- You may also feel pressure on your forehead, temples, cheeks, nose, jaw, teeth, behind your eyes, or on the top of your head. Nasal infections are also accompanied by nasal congestion, loss of smell, mucus which is usually yellowish green or postnasal drip.
- Rare complications associated with chronic sinusitis can include blood clots, abscesses, orbital cellulitis that causes inflammation around the eyes, inflammation of the lining of the brain, and osteomyelitis, an infection that spreads to the bones of the face.
Step 3. Check for signs of bronchitis
Bronchitis is an inflammation and buildup of mucus in the airways of your lungs. This often leads to a chronic cough and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), regardless of whether you have acute or chronic bronchitis. Bronchitis is usually caused by the flu virus, exposure to cigarette smoke, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. If you or a loved one has symptoms such as chest pain, fever, wheezing, sore throat, fatigue, swelling of the legs, and a chronic cough that produces mucus, see your doctor immediately to determine if you have bronchitis.
- The best way to avoid bronchitis is to stay away from air pollutants and cigarette smoke and avoid catching colds.
- Lifestyle changes such as eating right, getting enough rest, drinking enough water and also diligently cleaning your hands can protect you from getting sick.
Step 4. Go to the doctor for severe flu symptoms
There are certain severe flu symptoms that require medical attention. If you have a cough with yellowish or bloody phlegm, a fever as high as 40°C, an ear or nose infection, a runny nose, skin rashes, or shortness of breath due to asthma or other breathing problems, you should see a doctor or seek emergency medical care..
- If you experience severe cold or flu symptoms or have been previously diagnosed with any respiratory illness, you should seek professional medical care immediately. Babies are especially susceptible to the common cold because they have not yet developed immunity to common infections and are often around older children who may not always wash their hands.
- The early symptoms of a cold in babies are a stuffy or runny nose, runny nose, decreased appetite, easy crying, difficulty sleeping or eating, cough and low fever. If your baby is younger than two to three months old, you should see a doctor early.
- Babies are prone to breathing difficulties because they "can only breathe through their nose". If the baby's nose is blocked, he will have difficulty breathing.
- See a doctor immediately if your baby's temperature is higher than 38°C, his eyes are red or have discharge, difficulty breathing, blueness around the lips and mouth, coughing up blood, coughing hard enough to cause vomiting, and/or refusing to drink breast milk or drink. fluids that can cause dehydration.
- If you are pregnant, certain medications, herbs, and supplements may be harmful to your baby and should not be taken.
- If you have an underlying lung problem, such as asthma or emphysema, you should tell your doctor right away if you have a cold.
- Some drugs and herbal supplements can interact with prescription drugs and cause a variety of adverse and even lethal effects. That is why you should consult your doctor or pharmacist before trying to self-medicate.