Have you been suffering from a cough that just won’t seem to go away?
While coughs are extremely common, they can also be caused by a number of different illnesses. Therefore, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out how to treat your cough.
If you’re at a complete loss, check out this guide to discover what to do when you can’t stop coughing.
1. Go to the Doctor
While a cough may not seem like a big deal, it may be a symptom of a more serious illness.
To get yourself properly diagnosed, the best thing to do is to schedule an appointment with a doctor. If you don’t want to wait weeks to see your primary physician, you may want to go to an urgent care clinic. You can learn more about these here.
After explaining to your doctor how long you’ve had your cough, how severe it is, and any other symptoms you may be experiencing, they’ll be able to properly diagnose your illness.
2. Over the Counter Cough Suppressants
If your cough is mild, you can typically handle with over the counter suppressants.
But, before investing in over the counter cough suppressants, keep in mind that there has been very little research done to prove the effectiveness of this type of medication. Additionally, many suppressants come with side effects.
3. Decongestants and Expectorants
Decongestants and expectorants are another excellent option for those suffering from a cough.
Instead of stopping the cough, like suppressants, expectorants thin out secretions so that mucus can drain more easily and you can, therefore, cough it up more easily. Unlike suppressants, expectorants have actually been proven to be effective through clinical trials.
Decongestants, on the other hand, help relieve sinus, stuffy nose, and ear symptoms. Typically, these two medications are combined so you can experience the benefits of both.
4. Prescription Cough Medications
As we mentioned earlier, seeing a doctor about your cough is usually the way to go.
When you visit the doctor, the may prescribe you a cough medication. However, a doctor will typically only prescribe medication if your cough is so severe that it’s interrupting your daily activities. Additionally, a doctor will usually have you try OTC medications first.
Typically, prescription cough medications contain codeine. This is a narcotic that comes with its own set of side effects and risks, which is why doctors are hesitant to prescribe medication unless it’s absolutely necessary.
5. Honey and Other Home Remedies
Although many home remedies aren’t backed by science, a lot of people swear by them when it comes to relieving a cough.
Out of all the home remedies to try, honey is probably your best bet. In fact, recent studies have shown that honey is more effective in relieving coughs than over the counter medications, especially in children.
However, keep in mind that honey should never be given to children under 12 months old. This is because botulism spores. These spores are not harmful to adults but are poisonous to babies.
In addition to honey, other home remedies to consider for your cough include:
- Gargling salt water to clear mucus from the throat
- Sipping ginger tea to soothe inflammation
- Mixing apple cider vinegar with honey to thin out mucus
- Drinking mint tea to loosen mucus in the lungs
- Placing your face over boiling water in order to inhale steam
- Drinking lots of water
- Sipping or eating licorice root, as it acts as a natural expectorant
- Eating noodle soup to ease the symptoms of a respiratory infection
- Using eucalyptus in a vaporizer or rub on your chest in order to break up mucus
And, last but not least, you can also eat chocolate for your cough! Chocolate contains an ingredient called Theobromide that can suppress vagus nerve activity that causes coughing.
Warm, dry air can irritate your throat and airways.
Additionally, some people contract a cough when they turn on the heater during the winter. This is caused by the release of pollutants that build up in your heating ducts.
A humidifier produces a cool mist that can help keep your room moist and your throat feeling better.
7. Cough Drops
Cough drops are another popular solution for those fighting a cough.
When purchasing cough drops, you should always look for ones that contain Menthol, as this ingredient acts as a mild anesthetic and it can reduce your need to cough. However, keep in mind that cough drops are only a temporary solution for relief.
8. Change Your Sleeping Position
Believe it or not, your sleeping position can have a huge effect on how much you’re coughing.
It’s easier for irritants to make their way to your throat when you’re lying down. Therefore, we suggest propping up some pillows to raise your head. You can also use extra pillows to give your head even more elevation.
9. Allergy-Proof Your Bedroom
Allergy symptoms often occur when your immune system overreacts to an allergen.
Coughing is often caused by a dust allergy, especially at night when you’re exposed to pet dander and dust mites in your bedding. Here are some things you can do to allergy-proof your bedroom:
- Use allergy covers for mattresses, duvets, pillowcases, and box springs
- Wash your bedding in hot water once per week
- Run an air filter in your bedroom
- Don’t allow pets in your bedroom or on your bed
- If your bedroom has carpeting, vacuum it frequently
What to Do When You Can’t Stop Coughing: Wrap Up
Now that you know what to do when you can’t stop coughing, it’s time to put these tips into action. Hopefully, with the use of these tips, your cough will clear up in a few days.
Be sure to check back in with our blog for more tips and tricks for staying healthy.