Persistent dry coughing can be difficult to deal with. Even worse, getting at the cause of your cough can take a bit of detective work.
Totally eliminating a recurring cough involves trying medications and lifestyle changes, but many cough medications carry less than ideal side effects. More powerful variations contain substances like codeine, an opiate that is dangerously addictive and can be fatal if your body reacts negatively to it.
The safe choice is to utilize the assortment of home remedies for this condition contained in this article. These remedies can give you lasting relief from your cough without exposing you to dangerous chemicals or demanding significant lifestyle changes to see results.
What causes dry persistent cough?
Persistent dry cough (or a tickly cough) is a non-productive cough that differs from a chesty cough in that it doesn’t produce mucus. Dry coughs can affect both adults and children, and they commonly appear after an infection or the flu virus. However, dry persistant cough can have another trigger: atmospheric pollutants (like cigarettes) can easily irritate the throat and induce a dry cough. Generally, dry cough appears because the pharynx (the back of the throat) is inflamed or irritated. Some dry coughs, however, will arise from deep within the chest.
The common cold and flu are the primary causes of dry persistent cough. A cough can make an appearance at the beginning of the infection or towards the end of the illness. Some other causes for a persistent dry cough include hayfever (the allergy to pollen and grass), side effects of medication, psychological factors (no physical illness to trigger a cough) and stress that can make breathing become shallow, triggering the dry cough as a reflex.
Besides the flu and common cold, persistent dry cough can be caused by a few other underlying conditions that include:
- Heart diseases – can cause fluid buildup in the lungs, leading to a persistent cough, especially during the night;
- Whooping cough – the bacterial disease can cause coughing episodes, closely followed by gasping for air;
- Asthma – causes the airways to become blocked and inflamed, which, in their turn, lead to dry persistent coughing;
- Tuberculosis – the first stages of TB trigger a dry persistent cough. This bacterial infectious disease has recently showed an increased endurance to drugs.
Persistent dry cough home remedies
Dry coughs are bothersome but not too difficult to keep under control. If you’ve been struggling with a persistent cough for weeks, or if you’re not sure how to assuage the cough of your toddler, try these simple natural remedies that will calm down the coughing.
1. Warm liquids
When you’re dealing with a persistent dry cough that comes from the back of the neck and is caused by an inflammation, drinking warm liquids is a must. The warmth calms down the inflamed areas and gives you a break from persistent coughing. Herbal teas are your best allies because they combine the warmth factor with the active ingredients of the herbs that use their attributes to assuage the discomfort. Chamomile, ginger and Echinacea tea are the top three recommendations that you have to try if you’ve been struggling with a persistent dry cough for weeks. However, if you’re not too keen on sipping teas all day, soups are the next best thing. They are soothing and nourishing while they tackle with the inflamed areas causing the dry cough.
Gargles are actually recommended on a daily basis because they can help flush out the wanted bad bacteria that can build up. If you’re not in the habit of gargling morning and evening, you should do it when you feel soreness in the throat. This is the first indicator that you’re getting a common cold and that a dry cough could ensue. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and use the mixture for gargles. The salt is meant to drain out any excess fluids from the inflamed areas, assuaging the symptoms. Additionally, gargling can also remove irritants and thin down the mucus.
A simple method, steam is highly efficient and it costs practically nothing. The warmth of the hot water is not only destressing and calming, but it also works as a decongestant, calming down coughs and common colds. You can boil water for a simple steam, or spice it up with essential oils for a nicer aroma. You’ll want to lean over the steaming bowl as much as you’re comfortable and inhale the steam. This technique doubles as a facial, so you’re in for a super smooth face the second day. Use a clean towel to cover your head and trap all the steam inside. You can inhale the steam for up to 10 minutes and repeat the process two or three times a day. The steam will loosen mucous, opening the airways and fighting viruses and bacteria at the same time.
4. Elevated head
Some patients deal with bouts of dry coughs at night, which keeps them awake for hours. One of the causes of a cough kicking in just when you go to sleep is that mucus drips into the throat from the nose. This is why the body posture for sleeping acts as an enabler for coughing. Elevating your head when you are sleeping can help decrease the drainage, reducing coughing and helping you get a better night’s sleep.
Oregano can be of great help when you’re dealing with a persistent dry cough thanks to its antifungal and antibacterial properties. Acting as an expectorant, this herb will enable you get rid of mucus and clear your airways. Loaded with folate, fiber, magnesium, vitamins C, E, K and A, oregano can simply be added to various dishes in its raw form or it can be made into tea. For this, you’ll want to choose a special kind of the herb. Marjoram is related to the perennial herb. Boil a few leaves in water, remove the herb and wait for the tea to cool down. Sip on it on a regular basis throughout the day and it will relief the bothersome cough.
This Asian spice is not only delicious in curries and other foods, but it’s also helpful for soothing bouts of dry cough. The most famous remedy involves combining warm milk and turmeric. Use half a teaspoon of turmeric powder and mix it in until it fully dissolves. This quick drink has antibacterial properties, owed to the turmeric, and anti-inflammatory, soothing abilities due to the warm milk.
Another way to use turmeric for persistent dry cough is for gargles. Dissolve half a teaspoon of the powder in hot water and use the liquid for gargling. Make only enough mixture to use on the spot. You can repeat the process two to three times a day until you start seeing an improvement in your symptoms.
Turmeric also plays nice with honey. The mixture of the two creates a truly powerful dry cough remedy that can be consumed as it is or added into your favorite tea. Both honey and turmeric have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. When combined, they make for an effective remedy that soothes the throat and relieves the bothersome coughing. The proportions should be a teaspoon of honey to a teaspoon of powder turmeric.
If you’re not a big fan of turmeric, or if you think it only belongs to curries, you can use honey on its own for relieving dry coughs. The perfect candidate for calming down irritated throats, honey has been used as a remedy for sore throats and dry coughs for centuries. Recent studies showed the beneficial effects of honey on kids over two years old, who were able to sleep better and cough less.
There are various ways to use honey for dry persistent coughs. Honey can be consumed as it is, added to teas, combined with grape juice, mixed into hot milk or added into lemon teas.
Another polyvalent dry cough remedy, ginger is packed with benefits. The antihistamine, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties make it one of the best allies against dry coughing. If you like the strong aromatic taste of ginger, the easiest way to soothe your cough is to cut a slice and munch on it. Ginger tea is also highly beneficial since it’s extra soothing thanks to the warm liquid. Ginger tea works wonders not only for calming down irritation and inflammation but also for prevention. To make the tea, you’ll want to chop your ginger into small pieces and boil them in a cup of water. Sweeten it with honey and consume it throughout the day.
Garlic is not only delicious, but it’s also loaded with unique properties that makes it one of the best home remedies for persistent dry cough. Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, garlic makes for an excellent expectorant. Consumed regularly, garlic can prevent colds, reduce their duration and decrease their symptoms. Since it can be difficult to eat garlic in its raw form, the best way to consume it is to incorporate it in your foods, dressings, and salads. The pungent, distinct aroma is rich and makes any dish more favorable, while you’re only reaping the benefits.