Tips to Manage Cough

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Try these 5 tips to manage your cough at home.

1. Stay Hydrated

An upper respiratory tract infection like a cold or flu causes postnasal drip. Extra secretions trickle down the back of your throat, irritating it and sometimes causing a cough.

Drinking fluids helps to thin out the mucus in postnasal drip.

Drinking liquids also helps to keep mucous membranes moist. This is particularly helpful in winter, when houses tend to be dry, another cause of cough.

2. Try Lozenges and Hot Drinks

Try a menthol cough drop. It numbs the back of the throat, and that will tend to decrease the cough reflex.

Drinking warm tea with honey also can soothe the throat. There is some clinical evidence to support this strategy.

3. Take Steamy Showers, and Use a Humidifier

A hot shower can help a cough by loosening secretions in the nose. this steamy strategy can help ease coughs not only from colds, but also from allergies.

Humidifiers may also help. In a dry home, nasal secretions (snot) can become dried out and uncomfortable. Putting moisture back in the air can help your cough. But be careful not to overdo it.

“The downside is, if you don’t clean it, (humidifiers) become reservoirs for pumping out fungus and mold into the air, and bacteria.

4. Remove Irritants From the Air

Perfumes and scented bathroom sprays may seem benign. But for some people they can cause chronic sinus irritation, producing extra mucus that leads to chronic cough. Take control by avoiding such scented products.

The worst irritant in the air is, of course, smoke. Almost all smokers eventually develop “smoker’s cough.” Everyone around the smoker may suffer from some airway irritation. The best solution? Smokers need to stop smoking. (Yoder warns that severe chronic cough can be a sign of emphysema or lung cancer in smokers, so see a doctor if you’re a smoker with chronic cough.)

5. Take Medications to Treat Coughs

When steamy showers, hot teas, and cough drops don’t help, you can turn to over-the-counter medicines to ease your cough.

Find Out What’s Causing Your Cough

Coughs caused by the common cold usually go away in a few weeks. Chronic, persistent coughs may be caused by underlying medical problem such as allergies, asthma, or acid reflux — or by the medications you take. To lose those coughs, you need to treat the underlying problem.

Talk to your doctor if your cough lasts longer than a couple of weeks, if you are coughing up thick mucus or having other symptoms such as weight loss, fever, chills, or fatigue. Get emergency medical help if you are having trouble breathing or are coughing up blood.

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