Cough helps clear infections and irritants from the body, but it can be annoying when the cough becomes persistent. The best treatment for cough will be determined by its underlying cause. There are several possible causes of cough, including acid reflux, infections, and allergies. Some home remedies to treat dry cough may help to relieve the condition. However, you should understand that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not study or monitor supplements and herbs, so they may risk using impurities and low-quality products. If you choose to apply home remedies to treat dry cough, ensure that you research sources and brands properly. Most persistent coughs become chronic.
You will learn the following from this post:
Table of Contents
- Meaning of chronic cough
- Causes of cough
- Symptoms of cough
- Types of cough
- Home Remedies to Get Rid of a Cough
What is Chronic Cough?
A chronic cough is a cough that is persistent. Chronic cough is not actually a disease but a symptom of an underlying condition that might be severe. Nevertheless, chronic cough is a common health issue responsible for many doctor visits.
What Causes Cough?
Some of the causes of cough include whooping cough, medications such as ACE inhibitors, esophageal reflux of stomach contents, sinus problems (such as sinus infection), allergic rhinitis, and asthma. In addition, in some cases, cough (especially chronic) may be due to inhaling foreign objects into the lungs (it most often occurs in children). Therefore, it is crucial to visit a doctor capable of ordering a chest X-ray when you experience a chronic cough. Common causes of cough include the following:
- Smoking cigarettes is one of the most common causes of cough.
- Asthma is an airway disease that causes difficulty in breathing—some sufferers of asthma experience severe bouts of a cough as their only symptom. Symptoms of asthma can be triggered by perfumes, smoke, pollen, exposure to air pollutants, or cold air.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) refers to the backward flow, or acid reflux, of stomach acid and other contents into the esophagus. If the acid in the stomach moves back up into the esophagus, there are reflexes resulting from a spasm of the airways that can result in coughing and shortness of breath. In some cases, acid reflux can be so severe that substances can be inhaled into the lungs and result in similar symptoms, including damage to the lung tissue. In some people, however, no heartburn sensation is felt, and their only symptoms may be the cough, usually severe though.
- Postnasal drip and sinus problems can also cause cough with mucus. It may be hard to detect this condition. A CT scan of the sinuses is vital for diagnosis in some situations. People affected usually complaint of a ‘tickle in their throat’ and frequent clearing of the throat.
- Infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis can result in acute or chronic cough. These infections can be a result of fungus, bacteria, or viruses. Viral infections are often too strong for antibiotics. The flu and the common cold often cause a dry cough. Viral upper respiratory tract infections usually result in a prolonged cough even after the infection has disappeared in asthmatic people. Chronic and acute bronchitis are common causes of hemoptysis (coughing up blood).
- A particular strain of bacterial pneumonia known as Mycoplasmamay triggers severe cough with sputum production, shortness of breath, and fatigue. This condition is sometimes called ‘walking pneumonia’ and commonly attacks young and healthy people.
- Certain medications such as ACE inhibitors (captopril [Capoten], enalapril [Vasotec] used in the treatment of high blood pressure can cause cough.
- Less common causes of cough include congestive heart failure, sarcoidosis, tumors, allergies, or other diseases such as emphysema or chronic obstructive disease (COPD). Lung diseases may also cause a person to cough up blood.
If the cough persists, you should get it evaluated by a doctor. The healthcare provider may consider the possibility of lung cancer, interstitial lung disease, drug side effects, esophageal reflux, postnasal drip, asthma, or other unusual infections.
Signs and Symptoms of Cough in Children and Adults
Cough may be accompanied by other cold or flu symptoms, including:
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Postnasal drip
Consult a doctor immediately if you notice that you have a severe cough or the following serious symptoms:
- Your cough is causing unexplained weight loss
- Coughing so hard that you are vomiting
- Coughing up blood or green or yellow phlegm
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing or wheezing
Different Types of Cough
There are several types of persistent coughs; they include the following:
- Dry Cough is a persistent cough that does not produce any mucus or phlegm but is irritable to the throat and lungs. A dry cough may indicate sinus problems or a viral infection.
- Chronic Wet Cough is a cough that produces sputum (mucus), and the color of the phlegm may indicate either fluid in the bacterial or lung infection.
- Stress Cough is a reflexive spasm of the airways that results when one is under stress. Stress cough usually produces no mucus and is related to infections.
- ‘Barking Cough’usually affects children and may be associated with croup or other viral illnesses. The harsh, barking sound of a coup cough results from a trachea (swollen windpipe).
- Whooping Cough is a cough that triggers a whooping sound. The cough may indicate a severe infection and should be evaluated by a healthcare professional. Whooping cough is a highly communicable and severe respiratory disease that can be fatal for babies under a year old. The medical or laboratory term for whooping cough is pertussis.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of a Cough
Generally speaking, it is perfectly normal to cough. However, sustained coughing can also be the symptom of several conditions, such as:
- a bacterial infection
- a viral infection
- an allergy
Along with medication treatment, you can confirm with your doctor about other options that may help relieve your cough. Below are some common home remedies to get rid of a cough (and other types of cough) you need to consider:
Honey has been an excellent remedy for a sore throat for many years. According to specific research, honey can also get rid of cough naturally, even more effectively than OTC medications that contain dextromethorphan – a cough suppressant. You can create your own natural remedy at home by mixing about 2 teaspoons of honey with warm water and lemon or herbal tea. While the honey relieves by creating a soothing sensation, the other elements present (such as lemon juice) can also ease congestion. You can easily eat the 2 teaspoons of honey or spread it on bread for a snack.
Probiotics are microorganisms that offer various superb health benefits; while probiotics do not directly relieve a cough, they can help balance your gastrointestinal flora (bacteria that reside in your intestines). This balance helps support the function of the immune system throughout the body. Research carried out in 2015 revealed a reduction in the number of people contracting upper respiratory infections after taking various strains of probiotics, but the evidence is still weak.
Each manufacturer of the supplement may have varying daily recommended intakes. Probiotics can also be found in some types of yogurt and are available in sourdough bread and miso soup. Considering the variation of available probiotics, you should discuss the right probiotic for you and your condition with your doctor. Fermented foods are the most natural producers of probiotics, such as:
Most people do not consider pineapple a remedy for cough, but that may be probably because they have never heard of bromelain. Unfortunately, there is little evidence to suggest that bromelain (an enzyme present in the stem and fruit of pineapples) can help reduce coughs, including loosening the mucus in the throat.
To enjoy the most benefit of bromelain in pineapples, drink three and a half ounces of fresh pineapple three times each day or eat a slice of pineapple. Some claim that bromelain can also help relieve sinusitis and allergy-based sinus issues, contributing to mucus and coughs – but evidence to support this is still insufficient. Bromelain can also sometimes be used in treating swelling and inflammation.
Children or adults that take blood thinners should avoid taking bromelain supplements. Also, if you’re on antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, use bromelain with care because it can increase the absorption of antibiotics. Generally, always confirm with your doctor before taking unfamiliar or new supplements.
Peppermint leaves contain healing properties. For example, menthol present in peppermint can help a soothing sore throats and make breathing more effortless. In addition, you can relieve your cough by either inhaling peppermint vapor from a steam treatment or by drinking peppermint tea.
To make a peppermint steam treatment, add 7 or 8 drops of peppermint essential oil to 1 cup of boiled water. Drape a towel or a thick cloth over your head as you bend toward the steam and take a deep breath directly over the water.
5. Marshmallow Root
Marshmallow root is a product of Althaea Officinalis, a perennial that flowers during summer. This particular one is not the same as the squishy marshmallow you are familiar with. Instead, the marshmallow plant’s leaves stem, and roots have always helped suppress cough and treat sore throats since ancient times.
Research carried out in 2020 discovered that the marshmallow plant was excellent at reducing cough due to its soothing effect on the irritable tissues of the sinuses and throat. This healing could be due to the plant’s anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties.
The marshmallow root also has mucilage, which coats the throat and reduces irritation. You can get marshmallow root either in capsule form or as tea. The warm tea can soothe a cough accompanied by a sore throat.
Although the herb is generally safe, both marshmallow root and leaves should not be given to children.
Thyme is excellent for relieving some respiratory illnesses. For example, research involving 361 people suffering from acute bronchitis suggested that the essence taken from thyme leaves mixed with ivy can reduce coughing, including short-term bronchitis.
Thyme leaves contain compounds known as flavonoids. The flavonoids relax the muscles of the throat and lessen inflammation. You can produce thyme tea at home by using 2 teaspoons of crushed thyme leaves and a cup of boiling water. Cover the cup, steep for ten minutes, and then strain.
7. Saltwater Gargle
While this remedy may be considered pretty simple, a salt and water gargle can relieve a scratchy throat that causes coughing. Mixing a quarter to half teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water can help ease irritation. However, you should understand that since children below six years old do not yet know how to perfect gargling, it is advisable to consider other remedies for this age group.
Ginger is a traditional remedy considered popular worldwide. It is often effective in treating stomach upset and nausea, but it may also relieve coughing. Ginger also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may reduce swelling and inflammation in the throat. If you are suffering from a cough, ginger tea is the best choice. Hot ginger tea can ease dryness, irritation, and mucus in your throat.
To make ginger tea, slice an inch segment of fresh ginger root, then boil a cup of water for about a quarter of an hour (depending on how strongly you want to brew the tea). Alternatively, you can get ginger tea bags online or at the store.
While these remedies are how to get rid of cough faster, do not totally rely on them, especially if your cough is chronic. If your cough does not allow you to breathe normally or blood accompanies your cough, you should seek emergency medical attention.
Consult your medical practitioner if you experience the following symptoms that accompany your cough:
- productive cough with foul-smelling, green or yellow-tinted, thick phlegm
- malaise, or a feeling of not being fully well
- fever above 38ºC (101ºF)
What Home Remedies Can Overcome the Cough?
Cough can be cured with home remedies like gargling with a salt-water mixer, intake of hot water, consumption of honey and ginger, increasing the intake of hot fluid, steaming, etc.
Is Peppermint Oil Good for Cough?
Peppermint is a good remedy factor for cough as it consists of menthol as an ingredient, a natural decongestant. Menthol is used in many cough drops to help soothe sore throats and quiet coughs. Peppermint is considered an effective measure that helps cure cough.
What are the Common Causes of Cough?
The Common Causes of Cough are Sinusitis, Allergy, Pneumonia, Cold, Flu, Asthma, Blood pressure drugs, etc.
The information contained in this post is for educational purposes only. Always consult your primary care doctor before using the remedies that are provided. The information is provided by The Hidden Cures and while we do timely, in-depth research on the information that we provide to you, everything stated may not be up to date or accurate from the time it was written.