Coughing can get really disturbing and annoying at times, especially if you cough in a place where more people congregate, it can make you feel isolated as a troublemaker. There are two types of coughs, dry and wet cough. Wet coughs are more helpful in clearing up the mucus stuck in your esophagus. You do not want to discourage or suppress wet coughs as they help to ease your condition. On the contrary, dry coughs can become troublesome and distressing at times. You need to take appropriate measures to coat your throat to prevent that tickling sensation.
Why do you have coughs?
Most likely you have developed a cold or flu which are the most common causes for coughs. When you catch a cold your upper respiratory tract could get infected and swell which leads to irritation and tickling sensation in the region. This infection can bring up mucus formation in the area which is the reason why you cough up phlegm. Like mentioned before there are two types to coughs, dry and wet. The wet cough is most likely caused by a cold or flu. Dry coughs can also be caused by cold but most prominently they result from smoking cigarettes, inhaling dust particles, fumes, and other pollutants. Dry cough is usually more irritating type, it constantly tickles your throat and makes you hack more.
Soothing candy cure
- Horehound is a bittersweet herb used to treat the wet cough because it triggers the coughing reflex and helps to bring out the phlegm. Horehound candies are easily available in most drug stores.
- Slippery elm Lozenges: This candy is used for dry coughs. It is made from the bark of slippery elm tree. It contains a gel-like substance that coats your throat and prevents the tickling sensation that makes you cough up.
- If you cannot get hold of a slippery elm lozenges, you can use any hard candy as a replacement for dry coughs. As most candies will make you salivate more and in the process you will end up swallowing more saliva which prevents your throat from becoming dry and in the process it suppresses coughs. Lemon candy works best on this respect.
- Make a peppermint candy syrup which combats coughs (both dry and wet) yourself at home. Steep the peppermint candy in lemon juice, heat it up and stir until the candy is completely dissolved. Mix in some honey to taste and take one or two tablespoons whenever you start to cough more.
Homemade cough syrups to the rescue
- Take half a cup of lemon juice, add some honey and a little cayenne pepper powder to it and mix the solution and drink it up. Honey will form the protective coating in your throat reducing the irritation, Vitamin-C present in lemon juice will help to reduce swelling and inflammation, and cayenne pepper will increase the circulation in the region speeding up the healing process.
- For wet cough mix 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with 1 tablespoon of honey. Heat the solution until its warm and add some grated onions to it. Onions contain irritating compounds that will kindle the cough reflex making you cough more, so that mucus stuck in your throat is released, making you feel better.
- Add 5 to 6 cloves in a cup of honey and leave it in a refrigerator overnight. In the morning remove the cloves and have 1 or 2 teaspoons of this syrup. Cloves will numb down the throat pain while honey present in the syrup will soothe the infected throat tissues.
- Take a pan add the lemon extract from 3 lemons, add two to 3 tablespoons of honey to it, and add some horehound leaves and flowers. Heat the mixture in simmer until it the syrup is thick. Cool it down, strain it out and drink a teaspoon of this syrup two to three times a day. Horehound is a bitter herb usually used to treat wet cough. It triggers the cough reflex and helps to clear out the throat from mucus.
Cough Taming Teas
- Thyme is a natural expectorant and it relaxes the respiratory tract. To soothe your cough problems you can drink a cup of thyme tea twice or thrice a day. The preparation is really simple, add 1 tablespoon of dried thyme leaves or 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves (whatever is available) to a cup of water and let it boil in medium flame for about 5 minutes. Strain out the leaves and drink the tea warm. You can add some honey to it for taste.
- Marshmallow tea works in two ways. One it thins down the phlegm formation in the lungs, two it forms a coating in the throat region and soothes the irritation. Add a couple of teaspoons of dried herb to a cup of water and boil it for 5 minutes. Strain out the herbs and drink it. You can drink this tea up to three times a day and you can add a bit of honey for taste. But drinking it without honey will be more fruitful.
- Prepare a cup of hot water and add 40 to 45 drops of licorice tincture to it, mix it well and drink it. Licorice will loosen up the phlegm in the lungs and relaxes the bronchial spasms, making you feel better when you have cough. Remember licorice can potentially increase your blood pressure when you take it regularly, so do not take it for more than two weeks time.
- Traditional homemade Indian cough-relieving tea involves ginger, cloves, and cinnamon in powdered form. Just add half a teaspoon of ginger powder to a cup of boiling water, and add a little bit of powdered cloves and cinnamon to it. Boil the mixture for 5 to 10 minutes, strain it out and drink it warm. You can have this tea two to three times a day.
How to ease croup in kids
Croup is usually caused due to viral or bacterial infections. Symptoms of croup will elevate during late evening and night times, this can make your child get barking cough which can make the parents feel threatened. If your kid is having severe croup then you can treat it by making the kid to take hot, steamy shower till the condition subsides. If the condition continues to persist and your kid is having a hard time breathing, then you should immediately take the kid to the emergency care.
When to seek Doctor’s help?
Most coughs usually get over within two weeks time period. If your cough persists after this time frame then you should consult it with a Doctor. A continuous and persistent cough can sometimes be the sign of a serious condition such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If your cough is accompanied by fever, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pains, and chills then you should bring it to the attention of a Doctor immediately.
- There are numerous chest rub products available in the drug stores. But when you want to buy one check if it has camphor and menthol. Both these compounds are found to be very effective against coughs when used externally and they are FDA approved as well. Just lather from cream over the neck and chest area before going to sleep at night.
- Traditionally mustard plaster has been found to be very effective on both wet and dry coughs. To prepare it, make a paste out of one part of mustard powder with two parts of all-purpose flour by adding water. Spread this paste over dishtowel and fold in half. Layover this plaster on chest region and press it gently against the skin for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the plaster if you feel any signs of irritation or your skin becomes reddish. Some people recommend using egg whites in place of water to avoid irritation. Never apply the mustard paste directly over the skin.
Choose the right cough syrup
Drug stores and pharmacies are literally flooded with cough syrups from different companies. Always remember that you need to buy an expectorant cough syrup when you are dealing with a wet cough. Expectorant cough syrups contain a compound called guaifenesin (check the label). When you have a dry cough you should only take the cough suppressant. Cough suppressant syrup contains codeine or dextromethorphan (check the label). Never buy a cough syrup that contains both, it is usually ineffective and comes with its own set of side effects.