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What to Do for a Persistent Cough

By Paul Rothbart

A cough is an involuntary reaction that serves a useful purpose. It's how the body ejects irritants such as smoke or mucus from the airways. Coughs are part of several illnesses as well as acid reflux. Most coughs are not serious but a persistent cough can be distracting and very annoying. There are over-the-counter cough suppressants that are effective, but natural remedies are often a better choice. Here are some things you can try for a persistent cough.

Drink Fluids 

Hydration is very important if you have a cough or cold. Studies have found that drinking liquids at room temperature can ease coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose. If your symptoms include fatigue, a sore throat, or flu symptoms, hot beverages are more effective. It doesn't have to be water. You can drink black, green, or herbal tea, clear broth, fruit juices, or fruit-infused water. Any of these can soothe your throat and stop the coughing.


Research found that children with coughs who were given honey experienced more effective relief than those who were given dextromethorphan. Honey also has a sweet, pleasant taste. Adding two teaspoons of honey to an herbal or standard tea and drinking it hot can relieve a cough. You can also add it to warm water if you prefer. Honey should not be given to children younger than one. 


Inhaling steam is a great way to open up nasal passages and other airways. This can reduce the mucus that is causing the cough. Be careful not to get too close to the steam as it can cause severe burns. Running a hot shower and sitting in the bathroom with the door closed can be very effective. You can also learn over a pot of hot water with a towel over your head. Vaporizers are very good for putting steam into the air and a cool-mist humidifier also works well. 


Research has discovered that ginger contains anti-inflammatories that can relax the airways and soothe them, thus suppressing coughing. You can brew ginger tea by adding a few slices of fresh ginger to boiling water and letting it steep for several minutes. Adding honey or lemon can help improve the intense flavor and make it easier to drink.

Coughing is an important action that the body takes for health. Persistent coughs can be unbearable. Try some of these home remedies to suppress your cough without medication. For a cough that lasts several days, see a doctor.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Danville, Calif.

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