Best Practices for Getting Rid of a Cough
You may think that a cough isn’t anything to fret over; after all, it’s just a little cough. It’s normal to get it every now and then. Such a cavalier attitude could prove to be harmful.
If you have a cough, you shouldn’t dismiss it with the belief that it would go away on its own when it had run its course. While you shouldn’t overreact either, it’s certainly prudent to try and get rid of it as soon as possible.
Basic Cough Facts
Coughing in itself is just your body’s way of keeping unwelcome elements from entering your lungs. It’s essentially a safety reflex against infection.
Notwithstanding that, even a little tickle in your throat can be a nuisance. When you’re consistently coughing throughout the day, then it’s downright debilitating. It can make you feel tired and dizzy. It can also leave your chest muscles achy and your throat raw. When it’s really bad, it can even fracture your ribs.
Coughs are usually a symptom of colds and flu, but in some cases, it may stem from another problem. Coughing may be caused by acid reflux, allergies, asthma, dry air, smoking, bacterial infections, and more serious conditions such as heart failure and pulmonary embolism. There are also medications that cause coughing as a side effect.
Cough Management at Home
When caused by the cold or flu virus, your cough could linger long after the infection has gone, thanks to airways that remain inflamed. A cough that is left untreated could distinctly lower your productiveness and the general quality of your day, so do your utmost to get rid of it right away.
In cases wherein coughs don’t involve a more serious underlying condition, they can be treated at home with over-the-counter cough and cold medicine. This comes in different forms – syrup, tablet, lozenge, etc.
To support the work that medication does within your body, you can also adopt the following practices. These will help speed up the treatment of your cough.
1. Drink lots of fluids.
Upper respiratory tract infections cause extra secretions to drip down the back of your throat, causing you to cough. To thin out the bothersome mucus, you should frequently drink fluids. This will also help keep your mucus membranes moist in case dry air is aggravating your cough. Of course, fluids also help flush toxins and contaminants from your body.
2. Take throat soothers.
While you’re hydrating, why not choose a drink that’s really soothing to your throat like warm tea with honey? The warm liquid feels good going down. Honey also has natural antibiotic properties, which can help get rid of a bacterial infection.
Cough pastilles are also handy for soothing the throat and decreasing the cough reflex. Sucking on one stimulates saliva production which helps bring relief to an irritated throat. Menthol lozenges, in particular, have a numbing quality that helps get rid of the tickle.
3. Increase the humidity.
Putting moisture in the air helps ease a cough from colds and allergies. It loosens mucus from your airways, making it less irritating. You can benefit from this strategy by taking steamy showers or using a humidifier. Just make sure that your humidifier is clean or you’ll just be spreading bad stuff like mold and bacteria around the room.
If you don’t have a plug-in humidifier, you can place bowls of water or damp towels on your radiator for the same effect.
4. Purge the air of irritants.
You may think scent improves the air quality, but it usually ends up irritating the sinuses. Irritated sinuses, of course, produce more mucus, which then leads to coughing. This is why you should clear the air of perfumes, fresheners, and other scents.
Worse than scent is smoke. Make sure that nobody smokes in your home. The toxins and other pollutants from smoked tobacco products stick to the walls and furniture, attacking your health long after the smoker has gone. If you’re a smoker yourself, then you should definitely stop.
Curing the Cause
You can only do so much to treat your cough at home. Coughs initially caused by a cold typically go away in a couple of weeks. You need to see a doctor if it lasts longer than that.
Also, if you have a chronic cough, you need to go to the source to get rid of it. Consult your doctor to address the underlying problem.