How to Stop Coughing

A woman lying in bed covering her mouth with a tissue

Coughing is the body’s way of clearing the lungs and airway. It is a natural reflex to get rid of mucus, smoke, or any other irritants in the throat. However, persistent coughing can be extremely annoying and even painful. It can interrupt your work during the day and keep you up at night. Most importantly, it can tire you out and ruin your day. For all these reasons, it is important to know how to stop coughing excessively and soothe your throat.

The good news is that there are multiple ways to calm a bad cough. However, before we learn about them, it is essential to mention that while cough caused by cold, flu, and allergies is usually not something to worry about, sometimes, a cough may appear as a symptom of an underlying disease. Therefore, it should be taken seriously. Check out how to stop coughing below.  

How to Stop Coughing – 8 Effective Remedies

Whether you have a bad case of cold or just can’t stop coughing during the allergy season, we’ve got the perfect solution for you. Scroll down to take a look at some of the most effective remedies to soothe a cough and learn how to stop coughing.

1. Increase Your Fluid Intake

One of the reasons why you may be coughing consistently is that your body may be trying to get rid of thickened mucus. It is important to understand that while the presence of mucus is normal, if it thickens excessively, it can block the airways and irritate the throat. This usually happens in the case of chest congestion. An easy way to deal with such a cough is to increase your water intake. Water plays a crucial role in thinning the mucus. So, if you drink more water, you will cough less often!

2. Breathe in Steam

Taking steam is another tried and tested method to clear up the airways. A steamy hot shower can tackle this job for you. However, in case of very bad chest congestion, you can take steam through boiling water. All you have to do is boil some water and pour it into a big bowl. Then, face the bowl and cover your head with a towel in a way that the steam rising from the water is trapped inside the towel. Breathe in the steam to relieve excessive coughing.

You can also add Vicks vaporizer in the water to enhance the effectiveness of this method. However, it is best to avoid taking steam if your cough is caused by asthma. Asthma cough can actually get worse with steam, which is why it is essential to avoid taking steam in such cases.

3. Swallow a Spoonful of Honey

Owing to its medicinal properties, honey has been used to treat cough and other ailments for centuries. It is one of the easiest and quickest ways of taking care of a cough, especially the one that keeps bothering you at night. In fact, according to research, honey is more effective for treating coughs associated with childhood upper respiratory tract infection as compared to over-the-counter medicines (dextromethorphan).

The reason why honey works like a charm to soothe a cough is that it coats the scratchiness in the throat. In other words, it coats the irritated throat to reduce inflammation and make it better. Apart from that, consuming honey at night can also help promote quality sleep, which means if you consume honey to calm a cough at night, you will wake up feeling fresh and rested in the morning.

There are two main ways to consume honey to stop coughing. You can either have a spoonful of raw honey or mix it in a cup of hot water or herbal tea. If you choose the latter method, you can also add a few drops of the lemon juice to your drink for maximum effect.   

4. Keep Your Head Elevated While Sleeping

If you are wondering how to stop coughing at night, try sleeping on an incline. It can help with a cough caused by cold or allergies. When you lay down to sleep, mucus can pool at the back of the throat, blocking the airway. As a result, you may keep coughing throughout the night. This does not work in your favor as you need to get some sleep to recover quickly.

However, something as simple as placing an extra pillow under the head can take care of this problem for you. Sleeping on an incline, meaning raising your head can keep mucus from pooling and irritating the throat. If an extra pillow is not available, you can use just about any stable surface to raise your pillow. For instance, you can place a bunch of books to raise the head of your bed.

5. Gargle with Saltwater Solution  

Gargling with salt water is an excellent remedy for soothing a sore throat. It helps in 3 ways. Firstly, it works to reduce the swelling in the throat, resulting in immediate pain relief. Secondly, it loosens the mucus, allowing you to breathe freely and keeping the body from initiating a reflux cough. Last but not least; it works to wash off bacteria and irritants in the throat that may cause you to cough. For all these reasons, gargling with salt water is a highly effective method of calming even the worst cough.

The best part is that you can easily make a saltwater solution at home. Simply heat a cup of water, add around half a teaspoon of salt in it, mix thoroughly, and voila! Your saltwater solution is ready. Now, take a sip, tilt your head back and gargle for at least 30 seconds before spitting. However, before you get to gargling, check the water to make sure it is not too hot; otherwise, it can burn the mouth. For most effective results, it is advisable to gargle with salt water solution once every few hours.

6. Take a Peppermint Steam Bath

Did you know that peppermint leaves are famous for their healing properties? Plus, peppermint has a level of menthol, which is an excellent natural decongestant. This is why you can use peppermint to loosen mucus and keep it from irritating the throat. You can either enjoy a delicious cup of peppermint tea or add a few drops of peppermint oil in your steam bath. Either way, it will work effectively to help you get rid of that annoying cough. If you choose to take a peppermint steam bath, simply add 3 to 4 drops of peppermint oil for 150ml of water. Keeping your face towards the steam, drape a towel over your head and breathe deeply in the peppermint steam.

7. Use a Humidifier in your Room

If you are still wondering how to stop coughing, try using a humidifier. It is important to understand that dry air can irritate the throat. If the air inside your room is cold and dry, it can make your throat scratchy, aggravating the cough. An easy solution is to use a humidifier. It will not only work to add moisture to the air but will also clear up mucus and congestion. However, before you set up a humidifier in the house, check its filter to make sure it is clean and free of dust. Change the filter if you must. You don’t want mold, dust, bacteria, and fungi blowing around your house. 

8. Enjoy a Cup of Your Favorite Tea

The simple act of sipping on a hot beverage can help soothe the throat and keep you from coughing. This remedy works best for treating cough spells caused by cold and flu. It will also help you get over a cold fast. The liquids will hydrate your body and soothe the throat at the same time. While any hot beverage will work, here are a few options that work exceptionally well when it comes to treating a cough.

  • Licorice Root Tea: Licorice root tea can do wonders to soothe a sore throat and get rid of cough. While you can enjoy a nice hot cup of licorice, you can also use it to gargle. Keep in mind that consuming licorice root in large quantities can be dangerous, which is why it is best to stick to gargling with this tea.  
  • Chamomile Tea: Chamomile tea is perhaps the most commonly consumed tea for treating a sore throat. It is known for its anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, both of which work to help alleviate cough and soothe the throat. However, if you are not a fan of chamomile tea, you can simply inhale it to benefit from its therapeutic effects.  
  • Green Tea: If you just can’t stop coughing, give green tea a try. Green tea is rich in antioxidants and is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it a viable option to treat a sore throat. If you are not up for drinking it, you can use it to gargle. You can use green tea to gargle up to 4 -6 times a day.

Now that you know how to stop coughing, you can easily get your cough under control at home. If nothing works, you can also opt for some over-the-counter medicine to relieve cough. However, if it persists for a few weeks despite all your efforts, it is advisable to consult a doctor.

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