Cold and Flu Finding Relief for Your Cough

January 2, 2021

Why are you coughing?
There are many potential causes of coughing. Short-term coughs can last for 3 weeks or less. Colds and flu are some of the more common causes of these short term coughs. The symptoms will go away on their own within a few days to a few weeks. Irritants such as dust in your throat may cause you to cough. Post-nasal drips from allergies can do this as well. Certain more serious medical conditions and medical side effects can also cause a cough. Whatever the cause of your cough, there are many remedies that can help you feel better.

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If you have a cough, there are several home remedies that can help relieve your symptoms. Drink plenty of fluids to thin the mucus and make it easier for you to get it out of your system. Use a nebulizer or cold-mist humidifier to soothe an irritated throat. There is some evidence that honey can reduce the frequency and severity of coughs without side effects. Drink some honey tea before bed to relieve your cough. Honey should not be given to young children under 12 months of age because of the risk of infecting infants with botulism.

Other home remedies that may be effective include gargling with salt water or drinking hot water with lemon juice. Add fresh ginger to the boiling water. Allow the mixture to cool and add honey before drinking it to relieve a cough or sore throat. To make another remedy, add turmeric powder and black pepper to the boiling water. Allow the drink to cool before consuming it. Turmeric with black pepper is reported to be a good home remedy against colds and flu. If your cough is caused by a cold, take more vitamin C during cold season to reduce the duration and severity of your cold symptoms. Vitamin C strengthens the immune system. Chicken soup is a great home remedy that has a variety of anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve cough and cold symptoms.

Try an expectorant.
If you have a “wet” cough, also known as a productive cough, try taking an over-the-counter expectorant to help you get rid of the mucus. Expectorants aren’t suitable for all types of coughs. Do not take expectorants if you have emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, or asthma. Ask your doctor which over-the-counter cough medicine is right for you.Children under 4 years old should not take cough and cold medicines. Consult your pediatrician before giving any medication to your little one.

Try cough medicine.
Sometimes you want to suppress a cough if it is caused by inhaling irritants such as smoke, dust or allergic particles. This cough results when you have an annoying itch in the back of your throat. Over-the-counter cough medicine can help suppress the urge to cough. Another name for cough suppressants is anti-shock medication. Cough suppressants may be available in liquid or cough drops form. For children under 4 years old, cough drops are a choking hazard. Ask your child’s pediatrician which drops are safe.VapoRub is a topical cough medicine with medicated vapors that may be appropriate for children 2 years of age and older.

A warning about cough medicine and young children
Cough medicine should never be given to children under the age of 4 because it can have serious side effects and even death.Some cough and cold medicines are available for children ages 4 to 6, but talk to your child’s pediatrician first. For young children who can’t take cough syrup, you can give them 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of honey in some warm water to help soothe a severe cough (however, don’t give honey to children under the age of 1 because of the risk of botulism). Honey as a natural cough remedy can have an immediate effect.

Are antibiotics appropriate for a cough?
Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, so they are not a cure for coughs. Antibiotics are not effective in treating coughs caused by cold or flu viruses. If the cough is caused by an underlying viral infection, this type of cough usually resolves within a week. If you’re still coughing after a week, see your doctor. You may have a bacterial infection, such as a sinus infection or pneumonia, that is causing your cough. In these cases, antibiotics can help relieve your symptoms. Sometimes, your doctor will send a sputum sample for laboratory analysis to identify bacteria so that the most effective antibiotic can be prescribed.

Allergies and asthma can cause you coughing problems
Allergies can lead to itchy and watery eyes, post-nasal drip, and coughing. Taking over-the-counter antihistamines may help relieve your symptoms and dry nasal passages so you cough less. Look for non-drowsy versions of allergy medications, so you can still function during the day. Asthma is another condition that may be associated with a cough. Asthma is serious, so see your doctor if you’re wheezing with prescription medications to control your condition and minimize coughing. Take regular allergy and asthma treatments and medications to keep your symptoms at bay.

Smokers’ coughs can be serious.
Smokers will develop a characteristic cough, which may be worse in the morning. Smoking damages small brush-like bumps on the airways called cilia, which help clear mucus and dirt from the respiratory tract. They help remove mucus and dirt from the respiratory tract. When the cilia are damaged, they can’t remove the debris and you cough. Smoking can also irritate the airways, which can lead to inflammation and bronchitis. Another potential cause of coughing in smokers is cancer. If you develop a new or unusual cough, see your doctor. If you quit smoking for a month, your cough should decrease significantly. If your cough doesn’t go away or gets worse, see your doctor. Smoking can also cause a sore throat, which is one of the main risk factors for lung cancer.

What causes a chronic cough?
A cough that persists for more than 8 weeks is chronic. Allergies and postnasal drip are potential causes of chronic cough. Infections in the lower respiratory tract, such as the trachea (bronchitis) and lungs (pneumonia), may also cause this type of cough. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and medication side effects may also cause a cough. Sometimes a cough is a symptom of a more serious underlying condition, such as a blood clot in the lungs (pulmonary embolism), asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, or heart failure.

When to see a doctor
Sometimes a chronic cough is cause for concern and you should make an appointment with your doctor. If you are experiencing any of the following disturbing symptoms, call your doctor.

You have a deep, wet cough that produces a lot of mucus and phlegm.
If you have wheezing or shortness of breath, these may be symptoms of asthma or other serious illness.
You have a feeling of tightness in your chest.
If your fever does not go down after 3 days.
If your cough persists for more than 7 days and doesn’t get better, see your doctor.
If you have a cough that keeps you awake at night, see your doctor.
If you have chills in addition to your cough, see your doctor.
If you have bloody phlegm when you cough.