- How to Stop Coughing at Night So You Can Get Some Sleep
- What can I do to make my cough go away?
- Honey, not antibiotics, recommended for coughs
- What is meant by acute cough?
- What evidence did NICE look at?
- Why are antibiotics not recommended?
- Why is honey recommended?
- How can I use honey to treat a cough?
- Are any other treatments also recommended?
- Links to the headlines
- Further reading
- 1) Practice Prevention
- 2) Build immunity
- 3) Stop the spread of germs
- 4) Stay hydrated
- 5) Reduce Fever
- 6) Soothe sore throat
- 7) Reduce Inflammation
- 8) Encourage Activity OR Rest.
- 9) Try Natural Expectorants
- 10) Relieve Congestion
- Hacking cough just won’t go away? Here’s how to get rid of it
- How to Beat a Cold ASAP
- Lifestyle Remedies
- OTC Medications
How to Stop Coughing at Night So You Can Get Some Sleep
Dealing with a cough is bad enough during the day. But anyone who’s ever had a cold, the flu, or allergies knows that the hacking can get even worse at night—keeping you tossing and turning when you could really use that extra shuteye to, you know, recover.
But let’s back up. “When you cough, your body is responding to some type of irritant in your throat or airway, whether it be an allergen like dust or mucus in your throat from a cold,” Diondra Atoyebi, DO, a Georgia-based family medicine physician at Piedmont Physicians Monroe Family Practice, tells Health. Coughing at night is super common, and it’s caused by those same irritants.
Why you’re coughing at night
A worsening nighttime cough may happen simply because of how you’re positioned. “When you lie down, you lose the effects of gravity that were present while you were standing,” Kathleen Dass, MD, of the Michigan Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Center, tells Health. That prone position makes it harder for your body to keep your airways clear.
If you have postnasal drip from a cold or the flu, “laying down can allow the mucus drainage to slide down into your throat, which will active your coughing reflex,” says Dr. Dass. “If you have acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), that loss of gravity means the acid can come back up your esophagus, which can make you cough.”
RELATED: 7 Reasons You Can’t Stop Coughing
Besides a cold, the most common causes of chronic nighttime coughing are GERD, postnasal drip, and asthma, says Dr. Dass. That worsening effect, though, could be due simply to your environment. “Dry air, like in the winter, can irritate your nose, throat, and airway, making it itchy and naturally making you want to cough,” says Dr. Atoyebi. Outside air coming from an open window can trigger asthma symptoms, and allergic reactions to dust mites in mattresses or pillows can keep you coughing into the wee hours, too.
“Regardless of how annoying a nighttime cough may be, it’s not necessarily a bad thing,” says Dr. Atoyebi. “Coughing is actually helping you clear your throat and airway, getting rid of whatever irritant is bugging them in the first place.”
How to ease a nighttime cough
That’s all well and good, but you probably want to stop hacking ASAP so you can function at work the next morning. First, you have to nail down the underlying issue. “If your cough is because of postnasal drainage, controlling your allergies or treating a sinus infection or cold will help you feel better,” says Dr. Dass. If allergies are behind your cough, “treat your allergies through oral or intranasal antihistamines, intranasal steroids, or allergen avoidance,” she advises. “For colds and sinus infections, expectorants can help you thin the mucus while cough suppressants can block the cough reflex.”
RELATED: How Long Is Too Long to Have a Cough?
Asthma can be exacerbated during the day and then wake you up at night with coughing. And “sometimes asthma only presents with a cough, which is known as cough variant asthma,” says Dr. Dass. “If you think you have asthma or your asthma is worsening, you’ll definitely need evaluation. Your doctor may prescribe you an emergency inhaler like albuterol or a daily controller inhaler.”
GERD will usually give you a dry cough that worsens at night, says Dr. Daas. Other symptoms of GERD can include heartburn, a sour or bad taste in your mouth, or even difficulty swallowing. “Avoiding foods that can trigger your GERD—like chocolate, citrus fruits, alcohol, or tomato-based products—can help,” she suggests. “Your doctor may prescribe a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), like omeprazole, or an H2-antagonist, such as famotidine, to reduce the acid. And you may also need a gastrointestinal evaluation.”
RELATED: 7 Kinds of Coughs and What They Mean
What happens if a cough comes on suddenly and just won’t let up, and you need relief in the moment? Using a humidifier can increase moisture in the air, and over-the-counter medicines can make the cough more manageable. Warm liquids can also thin out the mucus in your throat, making it easier to cough up, so there’s nothing irritating your throat anymore and your cough ceases. One study found that consuming honey before bed is just as effective as taking dextromethorphan (Tussin Cough) or diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Even sleeping in a semi-prone position (using several pillows to prop your chest up, for example) can help prevent mucus buildup in your throat.
The good news is, most coughs go away on their own eventually. “But if you’ve had a nighttime cough for more than a few weeks and it continues to persist or seems to be getting worse, I recommend seeking help from your doctor, as this cough could be a symptom of a health condition that can be treated,” says Dr. Atoyebi. And if it’s been weeks, don’t you just want to sleep through the night already?
RELATED: What Exactly Is Whooping Cough—and Can Adults Get It?
What can I do to make my cough go away?
People use a range of natural remedies to try to treat a persistent cough. Here, we look at 12 of these remedies in more detail.
1. Honey tea
Share on PinterestA popular home remedy for coughs is mixing honey with warm water.
According to some research, honey may relieve coughs.
A study on treatments for nighttime coughing in children compared dark honey with the cough-suppressing medication dextromethorphan and with no treatment.
The researchers reported that honey provided the most significant relief from coughing, followed by dextromethorphan.
Although the benefits of honey over dextromethorphan were small, parents rated honey most favorably of all three interventions.
To use honey to treat a cough, mix 2 teaspoons (tsp) with warm water or an herbal tea. Drink this mixture once or twice a day. Do not give honey to children under 1 year of age.
Ginger may ease a dry or asthmatic cough, as it has anti-inflammatory properties. It may also relieve nausea and pain.
One study suggests that some anti-inflammatory compounds in ginger can relax membranes in the airways, which could reduce coughing. The researchers mainly studied the effects of ginger on human cells and animals, so more research is necessary.
Brew up a soothing ginger tea by adding 20–40 grams (g) of fresh ginger slices to a cup of hot water. Allow to steep for a few minutes before drinking. Add honey or lemon juice to improve the taste and further soothe a cough.
Be aware that, in some cases, ginger tea can cause stomach upset or heartburn.
Staying hydrated is vital for those with a cough or cold. Research indicates that drinking liquids at room temperature can alleviate a cough, runny nose, and sneezing.
However, people with additional symptoms of a cold or flu may benefit from warming up their beverages. The same study reports that hot beverages alleviate even more symptoms, including a sore throat, chills, and fatigue.
The symptom relief was immediate and remained for a continued period after finishing the hot beverage.
Hot beverages that may be comforting include:
- clear broths
- herbal teas
- decaffeinated black tea
- warm water
- warm fruit juices
A wet cough, which is one that produces mucus or phlegm, may improve with steam. Take a hot shower or bath and allow the bathroom to fill with steam. Stay in this steam for a few minutes until symptoms subside. Drink a glass of water afterward to cool down and prevent dehydration.
Alternatively, make a steam bowl. To do this, fill a large bowl with hot water. Add herbs or essential oils, such as eucalyptus or rosemary, which may also relieve decongestion. Lean over the bowl and place a towel over the head. This traps the steam. Inhale the vapors for 5 minutes. If the steam feels hot on the skin, discontinue until the skin cools down.
People with a wet cough or chest congestion may also wish to follow the recommendations of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and use a cool-mist humidifier or steam vaporizer in their home.
5. Marshmallow root
Marshmallow root is an herb that has a long history of use as a treatment for coughs and sore throats. The herb can ease irritation resulting from coughing because of its high mucilage content. Mucilage is a thick, gluey substance that coats the throat.
One small study revealed that an herbal cough syrup containing marshmallow root, along with thyme and ivy, effectively relieved coughs resulting from common colds and respiratory tract infections. After 12 days of taking the syrup, 90 percent of the participants rated its effectiveness as good or very good.
Marshmallow root is also available as a dried herb or a bagged tea. Add hot water to either and then drink it immediately or allow it to cool first. The longer the marshmallow root steeps in the water, the more mucilage will be in the drink.
Side effects can include stomach upset, but it may be possible to counter this by drinking extra fluids.
Marshmallow root is available to purchase in health stores or online.
6. Salt-water gargle
This simple remedy is one of the most effective for treating a sore throat and wet cough. Salt water reduces phlegm and mucus in the back of the throat which can lessen the need to cough.
Stir half a teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water until it dissolves. Allow the solution to cool slightly before using it to gargle. Let the mixture sit at the back of the throat for a few moments before spitting it out. Gargle with salt water several times each day until the cough improves.
Avoid giving salt water to younger children as they may not be able to gargle properly, and swallowing salt water can be dangerous.
Share on PinterestPineapples contain bromelain, which may help to treat a cough.
Bromelain is an enzyme that comes from pineapples. It is most plentiful in the core of the fruit.
Bromelain has anti-inflammatory properties and may also have mucolytic properties, which means that it can break down mucus and remove it from the body.
Some people drink pineapple juice daily to reduce mucus in the throat and suppress coughing. However, there may not be enough bromelain in the juice to relieve symptoms.
Bromelain supplements are available and may be more effective at relieving a cough. However, it is best to speak with a doctor before trying any new supplements.
It is possible to be allergic to bromelain, and this herb can also cause side effects and interact with medications. People who take blood thinners or specific antibiotics should not take bromelain.
Thyme has both culinary and medicinal uses and is a common remedy for a cough, a sore throat, bronchitis, and digestive issues.
One study found that a cough syrup consisting of thyme and ivy leaves relieved coughing more effectively and more rapidly than a placebo syrup in people with acute bronchitis. Antioxidants in the plant may be responsible for its benefits.
To treat coughs using thyme, look for a cough syrup that contains this herb. Alternatively, make thyme tea by adding 2 tsp of dried thyme to a cup of hot water. Steep for 10 minutes before straining and drinking.
9. Dietary changes for acid reflux
Acid reflux is a common cause of a cough. Avoiding foods that can trigger acid reflux is one of the best ways to manage this condition and reduce the cough that accompanies it.
Every individual may have different reflux triggers that they need to avoid. People who are unsure of what causes their reflux can begin by eliminating the most common triggers from their diet and monitoring their symptoms.
The foods and beverages that most commonly trigger acid reflux include:
- citrus foods
- fried and fatty foods
- garlic and onions
- spices and spicy foods
- tomatoes and tomato-based products
10. Slippery elm
Native Americans traditionally used slippery elm bark to treat coughing and digestive issues. Slippery elm is similar to marshmallow root as it contains a high level of mucilage, which helps to soothe a sore throat and cough.
Make slippery elm tea by adding 1 tsp of the dried herb to a cup of hot water. Steep for at least 10 minutes before drinking. It is important to note that slippery elm can interfere with the absorption of medications.
Slippery elm is available in powder and capsule form in health stores and online.
11. N-acetylcysteine (NAC)
NAC is a supplement that comes from the amino acid L-cysteine. Taking a daily dose may lessen the frequency and severity of a wet cough by reducing mucus in the airways.
A meta-analysis of 13 studies suggests that NAC can significantly and consistently reduce symptoms in people with chronic bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis is a prolonged inflammation of the airways that causes mucus build-up, a cough, and other symptoms.
The researchers suggest a daily dose of 600 milligrams (mg) of NAC for people without airway obstruction, and up to 1,200 mg where there is an obstruction.
NAC can have severe side effects, including hives, swelling, fever, and difficulty breathing. Anyone considering this approach should speak to a doctor first.
Share on PinterestMiso soup is rich in probiotics.
Probiotics do not directly relieve a cough, but they may boost the immune system by balancing the bacteria in the gut.
A superior immune system can help to fight off infections or allergens that may be causing the cough.
One type of probiotic, a bacteria called Lactobacillus, provides a modest benefit in preventing the common cold, according to research.
Supplements containing Lactobacillus and other probiotics are available at health stores and drug stores.
Some foods are also naturally rich in probiotics, including:
- miso soup
- natural yogurt
However, the number and diversity of probiotic units in foods can vary greatly. It may be best to take probiotic supplements in addition to eating probiotic-rich foods.
Honey, not antibiotics, recommended for coughs
What is meant by acute cough?
Acute coughs last for a short period of time (days or weeks, rather than months). This guideline focused on acute coughs related to infections of the upper respiratory tract (for example; common cold or flu), acute bronchitis (temporary infection of the airways that is usually viral) and other lower respiratory tract or chest infections (excluding pneumonia).
This guideline provides recommendations relating to acute coughs in adults, young people and children. For children under 5, NICE refers to its guidance on managing fever in young children.
What evidence did NICE look at?
Across the guideline, NICE and PHE looked at a range of scientific evidence. The preferred choice of study was randomised controlled trials, as these are usually the best way of comparing different treatments. Other types of study can be used if randomised controlled trials are not available, but these may lead to weaker recommendations.
For all types of study, the quality of the research was assessed against standard criteria. This in turn helped decide how strong the recommendations should be.
Why are antibiotics not recommended?
Antibiotics can be used to treat infections caused by bacteria. However, most acute coughs are caused by viruses which neither need nor respond to antibiotics. Even if a person has a bacterial infection, sometimes these can clear up without needing antibiotics.
As NICE says, when antibiotics are used for acute cough, they don’t make much difference to how bad the symptoms are, or how long they last. Antibiotics can also have side effects which some people may find unpleasant.
Antibiotics should only be used when the infection is bacterial and isn’t going away by itself. A lower threshold for use of antibiotics may also be used if the person is clearly unwell, or for those who have other serious illnesses or weakened immune systems so are at greater risk of complications.
It’s important that antibiotics are only used when absolutely necessary. This is because bacteria are starting to develop resistance to antibiotics which means that these drugs are no longer working as well as they used to. The more we use them, the bigger this problem will become.
Although researchers are trying to develop new antibiotics, resistance is developing at a faster rate than we are able to find new treatments. The risk is that we may reach a point where we no longer have effective antibiotics to treat infections and even standard procedures, such as surgery, could become more hazardous in the future.
Why is honey recommended?
NICE and PHE found evidence from 3 randomised controlled trials, all of which looked at using honey in children and young people. Two of the studies compared it with no treatment, and one allowed “supportive treatment” if needed, which included saline (salt water), nose drops, water vapour and paracetamol.
In both comparisons, children given honey coughed less often and had less severe coughs compared with those given no treatment. No study found any difference in quality of sleep for either the children or for their adult carers. The quality of the evidence found was classified as low to moderate.
This evidence led NICE and PHE to suggest that honey can be used to relieve cough symptoms, but only in people over 1 year of age. It should not be given to children under the age of 1 due to the risks of infant botulism (a rare and serious type of food poisoning that can affect babies). The guideline also noted that honey is a sugar and therefore can pose a risk of tooth decay.
How can I use honey to treat a cough?
While there are many over-the-counter cough medicines that include honey, you can also mix it with hot lemon yourself at home to obtain a similar effect:
- squeeze half a lemon into a mug of boiled water
- add 1 to 2 teaspoons of honey
- drink while still warm (don’t give hot drinks to small children)
Are any other treatments also recommended?
The guideline also found evidence supporting the use of a number of other remedies people can use to look after themselves at home without having to see a doctor. These include:
- pelargonium (a herbal remedy, thought to be most effective in liquid form)
- cough medicines containing the expectorant guaifenesin (in people over 12 years of age)
- cough medicines containing the antitussive dextromethorphan (in people over 12 years of age) so long as the cough is not persistent, such as in asthma, or accompanied by excessive phlegm
All of these remedies can be used to reduce the symptoms of an acute cough but won’t cure the underlying infection. This usually gets better on its own within 3 weeks. If after 3 weeks your cough hasn’t got any better, you should see your GP.
Analysis by Bazian
Edited by NHS Website
Links to the headlines
Use honey first for a cough, new guidelines say
BBC News, 23 August 2018
Promote honey rather than antibiotics for coughs, doctors told
The Guardian, 23 August 2018
Eat honey before visiting GP, patients urged
Sky News, 23 August 2018
Patients with a cough are told to reach for HONEY instead of calling their GP for antibiotics as doctors are warned against prescribing the medicine
Mail Online, 23 August 2018
Vitamin bee: give honey as cough cure, doctors told
The Times (subscription required), 23 August 2018
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
Acute cough (including acute bronchitis): antimicrobial prescribing
Got a nagging cough? Before you reach for the cough syrup, try one of these natural remedies.
1. Pick some thyme. Thyme is an officially approved German treatment for coughs, upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, and whooping cough, with good reason. Those tiny leaves are packed with cough-relieving compounds. For starters, thyme flavonoids relax tracheal and ileal muscles, which are involved in coughing. The flavonoids also reduce inflammation. To make a tea, mix 2 teaspoons crushed leaves in 1 cup boiling water, cover, then steep for 10 minutes and strain.
2. Fight back with flax, honey, and lemon. Boiling flaxseeds in water gives you a thick, gooey gel that soothes the throat and the bronchial tract. Honey and lemon act as mild antibiotics and make this syrup super-soothing. To make it, boil 2 to 3 tablespoons of flaxseeds in 1 cup of water until the water becomes thick. Strain, then add 3 tablespoons each of honey and lemon juice. Take 1 tablespoon as needed.
3. Brew black pepper tea. This remedy is rooted in two very different traditions: New England folk medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. The rationale behind it is that black pepper stimulates circulation and mucus flow; honey is a natural cough reliever and mild antibiotic. To make the tea, place 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and 2 tablespoons of honey in a cup. Fill with boiling water and let steep, covered, for 15 minutes. Strain and sip as needed. This remedy works best on coughs that produce mucus and isn’t suitable for dry coughs.
4. A sour approach. This isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is a commonly used folk cure: Quarter a fresh lemon, sprinkle it with lots of black pepper and salt, and suck on it for quick relief.
5. Try some warm milk. Another popular folk cure for a cough is to drink a cup of hot milk sweetened with honey.
6. Consider almonds. Some ancient traditions believe almonds help relieve bronchial problems, including coughs. They recommend blending a few teaspoons of finely ground almonds with a cup of orange juice and sipping it for relief.
Plus: Marshmallow and Licorice Cough Syrup Recipe
Help relieve the symptoms of your child’s cold (and prevent future colds!) with our 10 natural remedies you can do at home.
For specific ailments, try these 5 natural cough remedies you can make at home, and my best honey-lemon sore throat remedy.
Cough and cold season is upon us. Despite our best efforts and healthy diet, our kids can catch viruses they just can’t shake. When treating our kids for the common cold or cough, we want our kids to feel comfortable and recover as quickly as possible. Below are 10 natural cold remedies that will help with recovery from those nasty little bugs.
1) Practice Prevention
There is a lot we can do to help prevent the common cold or cough. Before the virus hits, we can build a body that is capable of fighting foreign invaders. Some healthy habits to implement that have been shown to help prevent illness include:
- Eating greens! The studies are in, and greens really do assist in building our bodies natural immunity.
- Vitamin D– Kids need sunshine to build proper immunity.
- Getting plenty of exercise. (play outside and you get the D, PLUS the exercise.)
- Staying away from other sick kids. This might not always be possible, but if you send your kids to school or daycare, you know how important it is to keep your kids home when they are sick, so others aren’t infected. Being around sick kids really does lead to the likelihood other kids will get sick as well.
2) Build immunity
Once a virus has invaded, you can give your body some extra support to fight the attack even harder. Although clinical trials may not always support the benefits, there have been enough reports of anecdotal relief with the following supplements.
- Probiotics. “Challenging” the immune system can be the very thing that builds it! Probiotics can do this with the presence of friendly bacteria that your immune system has to deal with.
- Vitamin C- the biggest benefits have been shown in populations that are deficient in vitamin C. Make sure your kids have a balanced diet, and supplementing with C isn’t necessary. If they are not eating because of their illness, a vitamin C supplement may be helpful.
- Zinc. “Zinc is a trace element essential for cells of the immune system, and zinc deficiency affects the ability of T cells and other immune cells to function as they should. Caution: While it’s important to have sufficient zinc in your diet (15–25 mg per day), too much zinc can inhibit the function of the immune system.” (source)
- Elderberry. This powerful berry can boost immunity and reduce the duration of colds and flu.
3) Stop the spread of germs
I almost put this as #1 because I think it’s so vital! Once a virus has invaded your home, see what you can do to stop it from spreading! Whether it’s spreading to the other family members, or just that it keeps reinfecting the poor child, sanitize the surfaces the virus is living on.
- Wash hands– Apparently a virus can live for several hours on your hands.
- Clean hard surfaces. Door knobs and light switches harbor viruses for several hours as well. We are not germaphobes at my house, but if there is a live virus situation going on, we make sure to clean these surfaces extra well.
- Wash the bedding– Germs live on pillowcases and sheets. Wash in hot water to kill the bugs.
4) Stay hydrated
Taking plenty of fluids may not have much impact on symptom relief, but it’s still necessary to stay hydrated. When a person becomes sick, often water loss follows, especially if the illness is exacerbated by diarrhea, vomiting or fevers. So, drinking water, eating fruit, even sipping some broth can help kids to stay hydrated.
5) Reduce Fever
If your child has an accompanying fever, making him comfortable is important. A fever can be brought down with:
- A lukewarm bath. Make sure you don’t put your kids in a bath that is uncomfortably cool for them. But one that’s lukewarm can help relax them and bring down a fever.
- Cool washcloths under the armpits. Interesting, right? This method can reduce body temperature in people who are overheated from exertion or suffering a fever.
- A smoothie popsicle– better yet, how about our Anti-Flu Super Smoothie, made into a popsicle! Although we’re talking about colds and coughs here, the Anti-flu smoothie is designed to build immunity, and turning it into a popsicle can cool a fever.
6) Soothe sore throat
- Coughing for too long just hurts! You can soothe a sore throat naturally with a homemade honey lemon drink. We have a recipe here.
- If your kids know how to gargle, gargling with warm salt water can provide some relief to a sore throat.
7) Reduce Inflammation
- Echinacea– Even before the discovery of antibiotics, people have been using echiniacea for fighting infections for ages. It’s convenient, safe, easy to find in any store, and it’s believed to decrease inflammation that helps your body heal from the cold or flu.
- Resveratrol is a Powerful phytochemical found in red grapes and berries. Not only does it appear to fight inflammation, but also fights aging (double bonus!) I’ll be eating my dark red berries just for that.
8) Encourage Activity OR Rest.
There are arguments for both sides of this coin. I’ve heard experts recommend activity to treat a cough or cold. But I’ve also heard rest is vital for helping kids get over the virus.
I think the best advice here is to listen to your body. Kids are much better at this than we are as parents! If one of my kids are ever sick, I usually can tell first because they are soooo ready for a nap! No child of mine ever willingly heads to his/her room and falls asleep in the middle of the day (or the floor), unless they are sick! Don’t fight it. Let them rest if they’d like to rest. If however, they are up, alert, and following you all over the house, it’s probably safe to encourage being active to kick-start healing and a normal routine.
9) Try Natural Expectorants
I’ve become a big supporter as of late of expectorants. When you are in the throws of a coughing spell, the last thing you want to do is suppress the cough. In fact, you just feel like getting something OUT. An expectorant encourages a productive cough as opposed to suppressing one. Some natural expectorants include:
- Hyssop– You can drink this herb as a tea, it’s an expectorant as well as anti-viral.
- Eucalyptus oil– When inhaled, eucalyptus oil can help loosen up the mucous to make a cough more productive.
- Water– drinking water can assist with coughing.
- Licorice is not only a natural expectorant, it soothes scratchy throats and burning lungs (source)
- And if your kids can handle the heat, make this cayenne concoction! Not sure if my kids would go for that one though.
10) Relieve Congestion
Feeling congested in your head can leave you miserable! I remember a very specific year (1995 to be exact) when I got the worst cold of my life! I literally felt like my eyes were going to be swollen shut, and that I would never breathe through my nose again. I used nasal sprays, put a towel over my head to breath over a sink to breathe in the steam, I took antihistamines, decongestants, ran a humidifer, everything! I was determined to clear out my head and relieving the pressure and congestion. The most effective thing for me at the time was actually inhaling anything with menthol or other strong odors to get through the muck. Since then, I’ve learned these two plants help to do that:
- Eucalyptus oil
Drop it into a bath, inhaled, add to a humidifier, or rub onto your chest, Eucalyptus oil can help to relieve congestion.
Contains menthol, a vapor that when breathed or inhaled can provide congestive relief.
If you don’t have time or resources to make your own, both Eucalyptus oil and peppermint you can find in an all natural vapor rub product like Maty’s. It’s a natural remedy, already ready for you, with all the right ingredients, in the correct amounts! Unlike other brands, this one is petroleum free and drug free! It’s safe to use on kids who need some relief from the congested head and sinuses. When you rub it on their chest or neck, they naturally inhale the vapors that provide relief.
You can also put this vapor rub in a bath bomb! Try making our Soothing Peppermint Cough Suppressant Bath Bombs
I actually prefer this brand over others and just used some last night to help relieve my son’s cough (a persistent asthma cough). This brand isn’t sticky or greasy like other brands. ( I was able to wash it off my hands with just some soap and water). The smell is mild to those around you, but pungent enough to break up the congestion.
If you are reading here because you have sick kiddo’s, I’m so sorry! Hoping you can find some natural relief right away!
Hacking cough just won’t go away? Here’s how to get rid of it
Last winter hospital admissions soared and surgeries reported seeing a large number of patients with a hacking cough that cannot be treated with antibiotics.
And for some it can turn into a more serious lung infection, reports Devon Live.
All of which makes the recent revelation that over-the-counter cough medicines are virtually useless far from welcome.
Researchers from the American Chemical Society claim cough syrups work little better than a placebo, while other popular remedies such as echinacea, vitamin C and zinc are not likely to help either.
At best cough suppressants can leave you drowsy and give you a better night’s sleep, claim the scientists.
Your health stories
But their report concluded there’s little or no evidence that the heavily marketed active ingredients – including the DXM (dextromethorphan) often found in ‘night time’ formulations – do anything to ease the cough. So what can we do about it?
Why do we cough?
Prof Ron Eccles, director of the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University says: “Coughing does actually have an important purpose. It’s a safety reflex, your body’s way of keeping unwanted stuff from getting into your lungs.
However, post-virus inflammation of the airways means this debilitating symptom can linger long after the initial infection has gone.”
But there are some simple tricks experts say will bring you some relief by soothing your irritated airways.
Water is your friend
- Drink plenty of fluids: Keeping hydrated helps thin out the excess mucus and reduces your cough reflex. Drinking liquids also helps keep mucus membranes moist. This is particularly helpful in winter when houses tend to be hot and dry.
- Add moisture to the air: Dry air can be irritating, so a humidifier will also help ease congestion.
- The downside is that if you don’t clean humidifiers thoroughly after every use they can become breeding grounds for fungus and mould which they then pump into the air, exacerbating coughs further.
- Bowls of water or damp towels placed on a radiator make for a safe, cheap alternative to plug-in humidifiers.
- Have a steamy shower: The heat can loosen secretions in your nose which can ease a cough.
- Try putting a few drops of eucalyptus or menthol oil on the shower wall (but never directly onto your skin) to boost the effect. Sucking cough sweets can help, says the American Chemical Society. They stimulate the production of saliva which soothes your irritated throat. Boiled sweets also help.
Any drinks will have the same effect
- Sipping hot drinks: A warm cuppa combines the steam effect for thinning mucus with throat-soothing effects. Many people particularly swear by honey and fresh lemon in hot water.
- Keep a glass of water handy, day and night: Sipping water can help thwart a coughing fit, and the sooner you can stop one the better. Continually coughing irritates your airways further, making your cough last longer.
Cough-proof your home
- Sleep with extra pillows: When it comes to a night-time cough, gravity is the enemy. All the mucus you would normally swallow during the day flows back and irritates your throat as you lie down.
- Keep the air inside your home irritant-free: Air fresheners and scented candles may seem harmless, but for some people they can cause sinus irritation which produces extra mucus that leads to even more coughing.
- The worst irritant in the air is smoke, so avoid cigarettes and any areas where there are smokers.
- Stay inside in the warm as much as possible: Cold air can exacerbate a cough. So if you have a cold or other respiratory infection avoid being outside for too long.
What’s causing my cough
Although most coughs at this time of year are virus-related, there are several other types of cough it pays to be aware of.
They can be a warning sign that you have an underlying condition such as asthma, heartburn or even cancer.
Here’s how to work out which you have and when to see your GP…
Professor Ron Eccles, director of the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University, saying coughing is your body’s way of keeping unwanted stuff from getting into your lungs
Symptom: An irritating cough that follows a nasty cold or flu bout.
Cause: A fly virus typically causes inflammation which leads to mucus draining down the back of the throat triggering a cough.
Coughs linger because the inflammation often stays long after the initial illness.
Treat it: Take a paracetamol for any pain or fever and sip a hot drink, which promotes secretions in the airways, soothing irritation. See above for more tips.
Symptom: A hacking cough, often bringing up green-looking phlegm.
Cause: A lung infection usually following a cold or flu virus.
Treat it: Lots of fluids to prevent dehydration and to thin the mucus. Antibiotics will only help if the cause is a bacterial infection.
Symptom: A chronic dry cough that’s worse at night, sometimes disturbing sleep.
Cause: An irritating night cough is often the first sign of asthma, especially in children, but you can develop it at any age.
Treat it: Talk to your GP – typically the first thing they will recommend is a blue ‘reliever’ inhaler, which releases medication to open the airways.
New research from the US shows the average time for a cough to last after a virus is an exhausting 18 days
Symptom: A ‘throaty’ cough following a meal, and sometimes waking you at night, often leaving a nasty acid taste in your mouth.
Cause: Acid reflux (heartburn) occurs when stomach acid flows back up the oesophagus, irritating the throat and triggering a cough. Large or rich meals late at night are triggers.
Treat it: If it’s occasional, a simple over-the-counter indigestion treatment will reduce the production of stomach acid. If it’s frequent, see your GP.
Symptom: Uncontrollable coughing fits, which may produce a ‘whoop’ sound.
Cause: This highly contagious disease has been on the rise again in recent years. A vaccine is given to babies and pregnant women.
Treat it: Babies and young children are at the highest risk of severe complications and if they do succumb need close monitoring and often antibiotics.
Symptom: A dry, niggling cough, often worse at night
Cause: ACE inhibitors, a common drug used to control high blood pressure, can cause a chronic cough in up to 20 percent of patients.
Treat it: If you think your cough coincided with starting medication, talk to your GP about alternatives.
Worrying new cough
Symptom: A new cough lasting longer than three weeks – especially in smokers.
Also look out for – coughing up blood, breathlessness, weight loss, tiredness or chest pain.
Cause: Anyone experiencing any of the above symptoms needs to get to talk to their GP immediately as they could indicate lung cancer – the third most common cancer in the UK.
Smoking accounts for 90 percent of cases.
Treat it: Once picked up by X-ray, treatment can involve a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
How to Beat a Cold ASAP
You don’t have to suffer through your cold or flu. Find the best remedies to relieve symptoms and get healthy quickly.
With cold and flu season upon us, you’re probably looking into the most effective remedies for how to beat a cold. Common symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, sore throat, and body aches can make it hard to even get out of bed. A common cold typically lasts one to two weeks, but there are plenty of ways you can start to feel better as your body recovers.
While there’s no actual cure for a common cold, there are dozens of remedies you can use to help minimize symptoms, prevent complications, and get back to your old self. Here are some tips on how to beat a cold and feel better faster.
Over-the-counter cold and pain medicines can help relieve your symptoms but there are some holistic changes that can be beneficial as well.
- Stay hydrated: According to WebMD, getting plenty of fluids helps to thin mucus and break up congestion. It also prevents the headaches and fatigue associated with dehydration. Keep a water bottle on hand throughout the day and try to avoid coffee, sodas, and alcohol as they can have the opposite effect.
- Sleep: There’s not much that a good night’s sleep can’t help. Resting your body helps to heal it.
- Add honey: Pour a little in your herbal tea or eat it right off the spoon! Coating your throat with honey can help soothe soreness and irritation. Plus, it’s rich in immunity-strengthening antioxidants.
- Use a humidifier: Adding moisture to the air, especially in dry winter months, can help loosen congestion and keep your nasal passages moist.
- Sip chicken soup: Your mom was right! Her chicken soup, or even one you make yourself, really can help you feel better. Several studies have proven that the healing powers of chicken soup are more than a myth. One study found that it eases congestion and another showed that it helps reduce upper respiratory cold symptoms.
There are many OTC medications that can help alleviate symptoms, and you should speak to your doctor or Rite Aid Pharmacist about the best options for you. Here’s a rundown of OTC medications that can help you breathe easier, cough less, and rest peacefully:
- Pain relief: Pain relievers like aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Advil) can reduce body aches and associated muscle pains. Use caution when administering aspirin to children, as it has been linked to a rare, but serious illness known as Reye’s Syndrome. Children and teenagers who have or are recovering from chicken pox or flu-like symptoms should not take aspirin.
- Cough suppressants: Cough suppressants and expectorants, such as MucinexDM, can help reduce your cough while thinning the mucus in your chest and relieving congestion.
- Nasal decongestants: Decongestants, in pill or syrup form, such as Sudafed PE or Rite Aid Nasal Decongestant PE, can shrink the blood vessels in your nose to open up air passages, making it easier to breathe. Another decongestant option is a nasal spray that may work faster than a pill. Nasal sprays should only be used for two to three days in a row—after that, they may worsen your congestion.
- Throat soothers: Lozenges or throat sprays can help relieve that dry, scratchy feeling and can make swallowing less painful. Many lozenges also contain cough suppressant medications so you can find extra relief in one candy-like soother.
- Multi-symptom relief: Most cold relief products reduce multiple symptoms at the same time, so you may only need one medication to feel better. If you are using multiple products, talk to your Rite Aid Pharmacist or doctor to make sure you aren’t doubling up on any ingredients.
While winter colds may be inevitable, there are plenty of ways to jumpstart your recovery. With these tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be healthy and sneeze-free in no time!
By Joelle Klein
WebMD, 10 Ways to Feel Better Now
Mayo Clinic, Cold remedies: What works, what doesn’t, what can’t hurt
Healthline, 11 Cold and Flu Home Remedies
Prevention, Bounce Back From a Cold or Flu — Fast
The New York Times, The Science of Chicken Soup
WebMD, A Guide to Cold Medicine for Adults