Home remedies to treat a dry cough

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Added 6th June 2017 09:49 PM

Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do at home to deal with dry, hacking coughs

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Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do at home to deal with dry, hacking coughs

A dry cough is best dealt with through cough suppressants like honey, candy, peppermint, sundew, and carrots. Chest and back massages and limited exposure to inspirable irritants like smoke and dust may offer some relief, too. Use a pillow when you sleep and take a hot shower before bedtime to reduce night-time cough spells. Infants younger than one are best treated by a paediatrician.

It is your body’s natural protective reflex to cough up anything irritating your throat. This may be mucus or an irritant, inhaled or swallowed. A viral infection like the flu, a respiratory disorder like asthma, an allergic reaction to dust or pollen, smoking, or more serious conditions like tuberculosis and lung cancer can cause coughing.

As opposed to a productive cough, a dry cough does not cause you to bring up phlegm.

There are 2 basic strategies to deal with a dry cough. One is to suppress it, the other is to prevent it. There is a host of naturally available cough suppressants like honey and peppermint that can be put to use.

Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do at home to deal with dry, hacking coughs

Have some honey

Topping the list of natural cough remedies, honey needs no introduction when it comes to our physical wellbeing. Honey’s high viscosity renders it an effective soothing agent to an irritable throat. Its antimicrobial effects are an added perk if it’s a bacterial infection causing your cough.

What to do: Lap up a tablespoon of raw, organic honey when you feel throat irritation coming on or in the midst of a coughing spree. You may have a tablespoon 1–3 times a day.

Alternatively, add a tablespoon of honey to a cup of hot water, tea, or lemon juice for a warm, comforting drink.

Caution: Honey is generally believed to be unsafe for children below a year old because of an increased risk of botulism. It may also promote dental decay if given regularly before sleep.

Use peppermint leaves or oil

The peppermint herb contains a minty compound called menthol. The sensory cooling that it offers a dry, troubled throat can suppress coughs. This conclusion, too, was drawn when a significant increase in the amount of capsaicin required to stimulate a cough was seen. Peppermint can, thus, help put a stop to or prevent a dry cough.

What to do: Add a few peppermint leaves to boiling water. Cover your head with a towel and inhale the cool vapours for a couple of minutes. Alternatively, you may add 3–4 drops of peppermint oil to boiling water and do the same.

You may also drink some peppermint tea.

How to make peppermint tea: Crush 7–10 green, unblemished, and washed peppermint leaves between your fingers or by using a mortar and pestle. Separately, boil some water. Allow the water to cool a little and add it to the leaves in a cup. Depending on how strong you want the tea, allow the leaves to steep for 7–12 minutes. Remove the leaves and drink the water plain, or add honey and lemon for flavour.

Caution: Peppermint or menthol is not suitable for infants. Do not consume peppermint oil.

Avoid exposure to inspirable irritants

With the increased levels of pollutions, this one is particularly difficult to follow. However, you would do your irritated throat a favour by limiting your exposure to “tickling” substances such as smoke, dust, and other pollutants. You may wear a face mask when you have no choice but to be in the presence of such irritants.

This also means that you need to quit smoking, which includes passive smoking as well.

Get a chest and back massage

An uncontrollable, recurrent cough can make your chest and back muscles sore. To feel better, ask someone to massage your chest and back muscles a couple of times a day. Though this may not help suppress your cough, you will appreciate the muscle relief.

Eat more carrots

This works especially for smokers. A survey conducted in Norway showed that an increase in dietary vitamin C reduced cough and wheeze in smokers, possibly due to their antioxidant components. Though vitamin A predominates in carrots, a raw carrot carries close to 6 gm of vitamin C in every 100 gm – quite a significant quantity.

What to do: Chomp on some carrots through the day as a healthy snack, or toss them into vegetable salads.

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