Overview of Cough
When you?re sick or your lungs have become irritated, your body reacts by coughing. This is your body?s defense mechanism to clear out any mucus, allergens, or pollutants so that you don?t keep breathing it in. Coughing is usually nothing to be concerned about. When a cough is a symptom of a cold, it tends to clear up on its own within two or three weeks.
A lingering cough or a chronic cough not brought on by a recent cold can be an indicator of a more serious condition. Coughs that last longer than eight weeksTrusted Source for adults, or four weeks in children, are considered chronic.
Home Remedies for Cough :
If you?re experiencing a cough that won?t go away, consider treating it using one or more of these research-backed home remedies. However, these shouldn?t replace any treatments or medications recommended by your doctor.
Peppermint tea with honey
Peppermint tea has been studiedTrusted Source for its relaxing effect on various systems of the body. It may help calm your respiratory system. When combined with honey, peppermint tea might help bring you relief from persistent coughing. Honey has been shownTrusted Source to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Thyme and ivy leaf
An herbal preparation of thyme and ivy leaf was found in one studyTrusted Source to decrease cough symptoms compared to people not being treated with any remedy.
Essential oils of thyme and ivy leaf can be inhaled through a diffuser at home. They can also be purchased as a tincture of thyme and ivy leaf at your local health food store.
This ingredient has been foundTrusted Source to possibly help with allergic irritation to the airways. Bromelain is found in pineapple. It?s often obtained from the stem rather than the fruit of the pineapple. Taking it as a supplement may help with a cough due to allergies.
When to see doctor for Cough :
Most coughs only last a few days to a few weeks and they are usually caused by a common virus. However, you should see a doctor about your cough if:
- You have had it for more than three weeks
- Your cough is very bad or is getting worse
- You have chest pain
- You?re also experiencing unexpected weight loss
- You have swollen glands
- You are struggling to breathe
- You have a weakened immune system
If you are coughing up blood you should see a doctor immediately.
Treatment for the Cough
Treatment isn't always necessary for short-term coughs because it's likely to be a viral infection that will get better on its own within a few weeks. You can look after yourself at home by resting, drinking plenty of fluids, and taking painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
Cough medicines and remedies
Although some people find them helpful, medicines that claim to suppress your cough or stop you bringing up phlegm are not usually recommended. This is because there's little evidence to suggest they're any better than simple home remedies, and they're not suitable for everyone.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) recommends that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines shouldn't be given to children under the age of six. Children aged 6 to 12 should only use them on the advice of a doctor or pharmacist.
A homemade remedy containing honey and lemon is likely to be just as useful and safer to take. Honey shouldn't be given to babies under the age of one because of the risk of infant botulism.