Table of Contents
- Causes of Chronic Cough
- Persistent cough: Major causes
- 7 Steps to Relieve A Chronic Cough
- #1. Stay Hydrated
- #2. Sip Hot Beverages And Use Lozenges
- #3. Use A Humidifier & Take Hot Showers
- #4. Powerful Herbal Remedies
- #5. Get Irritants Out Of The Air
- #6. Take Natural Decongestants
- #7. Natural Cough Suppressants
I originally wrote and published this article on my former website whyamiunhealthy.com which I sold in Jan 2016
Coughing is annoying for the sufferer and anybody nearby. And a chronic cough amplifies that annoyance.
It’s important to understand “the cough” is key in the body’s defense against disease. Coughing expels mucus, microbes, and foreign particles from the respiratory tract, protecting the lungs from infection and inflammation.
The cough begins with an initial gasp that draws air deep into the lungs. Next, the glottis snaps shut, putting a lid over the trachea, or windpipe. The third step is the forceful contraction of the muscles of the chest cage, abdomen, and diaphragm.
Coughing serves an important purpose, but if a cough becomes chronic (it lasts more than a couple of months), there is cause for concern. Even though coughing isn’t a sign of something serious, it can be annoying and frustrating. Coughing all the time is embarrassing, and it can distract those around you.
Coughing too much can make you tired, make it difficult to sleep, and cause you get dizzy, strain your muscles, break into sweats, and get a hoarse voice.
Coughing rears its ugly head more around cold and flu season when people are spending more time indoors without exercise or at the very least fresh air, but there’s no reason you have to fear that time of year every time it rolls around. If you’ve got the info for relieving chronic cough, you won’t be so vulnerable to it. Let’s look at seven steps to relieve a chronic cough.
The following tips will help you relieve chronic cough.
Causes of Chronic Cough
Smoking is the leading cause. Sooner or later, most cigarette smokers develop a chronic “smoker’s cough.” Chemical irritation is responsible — but the same noxious chemicals causing the smoker’s cough can lead to more serious conditions, like bronchitis, emphysema, pneumonia, and lung cancer.
There are dozens of possible causes of a recurrent, lingering cough, but 5 are most common:
- Postnasal drip
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Chronic bronchitis, and treatment with ACE inhibitors
- Used for high blood pressure
Many people have several of these conditions, but in nonsmokers, the first three, individually or in combination, account for nearly all chronic coughs. The major causes of long-term coughing are listed below.
Persistent cough: Major causes
|Common Causes||Less Common Causes||Common In Smokers|
|Postnasal drip||Airborne environmental irritantsn||Tobacco smoke itselfn|
|Asthman||Aspiration during swallowingn||Lung cancern|
|Gastroesophageal reflux diseasen||Heart failuren||Lung infections|
|Chronic bronchitis; bronchiectasisn||Lung infectionsn|
|Treatment with ACE inhibitors||Pertussis (whooping cough)n|
|Other lung diseasesn|
Don’t ignore a chronic cough — but don’t panic just because your cough lingers for more than three or four weeks. Most often, the puzzle can be solved without elaborate tests, and the problem can be corrected with simple (natural) treatments. In fact, in most cases you can diagnose and treat yourself. But if your cough is accompanied by sputum production, bloody sputum, fever, weight loss, night sweats, breathlessness, undue fatigue, or chest pain, you should consult your doctor without delay.
7 Steps to Relieve A Chronic Cough
#1. Stay Hydrated
A bad upper respiratory tract infection like a flu or cold will cause postnasal drip. The extra secretions will trickle down the back of your throat, irritate it and likely lead to a cough. Drinking fluids will help thin out all that mucus. Drinking water also helps to keep those mucous membranes plenty moist. This is especially good in winter, when houses are dryer, another contributor to coughing. Stay away from too much coffee, hot tea, or other caffeinated beverages in the winter (even though it might be tempting), because caffeine is a diuretic and will cause you to expel fluids.
#2. Sip Hot Beverages And Use Lozenges
A menthol cough drop can numb out the back of the throat, which will decrease that desire to cough. Drinking hot tea with honey can also be good. If you don’t want the caffeine, try decaffeinated tea. Medicated lozenges and cough drops are among the most widely sold cough remedies. These products contain various combinations of menthol, camphor, eucalyptus oil, honey, and other ingredients. Like with liquid cough medicines, some also contain topical anesthetics. Despite their popularity, there is no evidence that medicated cough drops are more effective than simple hard candies.
I don’t always use cough drops, but when I do, I use herbal cough drops from Ricola. They fight coughs naturally with sage, linden flowers, horehound, wild thyme, lemon balm, mallow, elder, thyme, hyssop and peppermint.
#3. Use A Humidifier & Take Hot Showers
Humidifiers can help. If your home is too dry, nasal secretions can be dried out and feel bad. If you put moisture into the air, it will help with your cough. Just don’t overdo it, though.A hot shower can help with a cough by loosening up those dried out secretions in the nose. It can help with coughs due to asthma, allergies, and colds.
#4. Powerful Herbal Remedies
Remedy Why It Works How I Take It
Licorice Licorice is a natural expectorant, soothingirritated throats and inflamed lungs, while acting as a cough suppressant. Drink a tea made with 1/2 tsp. licorice root three times a day.
Sage Sage is a strong natural expectorant. Use 2 tsp. of fresh leaves or 1 tsp. of dried sage per cup of hot water. Drink two to three times daily; sweeten with raw honey if desired.
Horehound Horehound acts as a relaxant expectorant and cough suppressant, soothing irritated lungs. Horehound is very bitter, so sweetened lozenges are the usual remedy recommended; tablets are also available.
#5. Get Irritants Out Of The Air
Scented bathroom sprays and perfumes might seem alright on the surface. However, they can cause mucus buildup in some people, which can lead to chronic
cough. Smoke is the absolute worst irritant in the air. Nearly every smoker will eventually get a “smoker’s cough”. Anyone around the smoker can suffer from some form of airway irritation too. Smokers should stop smoking, pure and simple.
#6. Take Natural Decongestants
Decongestants help with nasal congestion by reducing overall mucus production. They dry out the mucus in the lungs and open the airway passages back up.
#7. Natural Cough Suppressants
If you’re coughing a lot and your chest hurts, think about a cough suppressant. You should only use cough suppressants at night. When you have a cough that’s super-thick with phlegm, it can help to take a cough expectorant. They’ll thin out the mucus so that it can be more easily coughed up. When used appropriately, cough suppressants can reduce discomfort; remember, though, that because coughing can serve a useful function, it should not always be suppressed.
If excessive mucus is an issue for you, here are 12 tips to reduce mucus buildup.
Coughs from the cold usually disappear in a couple of weeks. Persistent, chronic cough can be caused by an underlying medical condition – some of them are generally harmless and some are more serious. In order to get rid of these coughs, you have to treat the underlying problem. Talk to a doctor if your cough lasts more than about a month, or if you are coughing up any blood or having other symptoms like fatigue, chills, or weight loss.
Health by choice, not by chance.