When a foreign object blocks the airways and throat, the body’s immediate response is to cough. This condition has two types. If you have a respiratory tract infection, you will have a productive cough wherein a mucus or phlegm is excreted. A dry cough will not produce this substance. However, it can be painful, uncomfortable, and it may disrupt your sleep and daily activities.
Several factors can cause a cough. If you are a smoker, it is due to an irritation. It can also be due to an allergic reaction if you are exposed to an allergen such as pollen, dust, or animal dander. Acid reflex is also a possible cause when the acid moves upward and irritates the throat. In severe cases, the acid may enter the respiratory tract leading to an inflammation and coughing. Finally, it is a common symptom of various medical conditions like asthma, viral infection, whooping cough, and lung cancer.
Depending on the specific cause of coughing, various medications are available. The best drug for this condition is an antitussive drug such as dextromethorphan. For allergies, antihistamines such as diphenhydramine will ease your symptoms. For people with asthma, a bronchodilator like salbutamol is usually prescribed. For other medical conditions, your doctor will give appropriate medications after doing some tests and diagnosis.
The main problem with drugs is their undesirable side effects. For example, dextromethorphan can be addictive due to its hallucinogenic effects. Furthermore, mild cases of a cough will go away without taking drugs. Instead, you can relieve your discomforts through several home remedies. However, if it is a chronic or a persistent cough, it is highly recommended to seek medical attention.
Home Remedies on How to Get Rid of Dry Cough
Numerous home remedies and natural products can help get rid of a cough. The following will help ease your discomforts.
- Use a Humidifier
Dry air can aggravate a cough and sore throat. A moist environment will help you breathe easier. However, you should always clean your humidifier. A moist environment is also a breeding ground for molds and mildew, which are allergens. If you have allergies, they can make your condition worse.
A lozenge is like a candy. However, it has therapeutic effects. It can help relieve a sore throat. Some lozenges have dextromethorphan, which can help get rid of a dry cough. You can buy this product in drug stores.
- Gargling Salt Water
Salt water helps relieve a sore throat through osmosis. When you have an inflamed throat, there is fluid buildup in the tissues. Salt water is able to pull out this fluid, which reduces swelling. Through this, foreign objects are also expelled. However, too much salt can aggravate your condition. To use this remedy, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in a cup of lukewarm water.
- Steam Inhalation
Steam creates moist air, which helps your breathing and removes irritants. There are various ways to do steam inhalation. You can take a hot shower. You can also pour boiling water in a large bowl and inhale the vapor. Adding a few drops of essential oils in the water will make this method more effective. The common essential oils for a dry cough are eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, thyme oil, and oregano oil.
Oregano is a widely-used herb to treat a dry cough. It contains compounds that can offer antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can also act as a natural expectorant, which helps remove mucus.
There are two ways to use oregano. First, you can use it for steam inhalation if you have oregano oil. You can boil its fresh leaves and drink it for relief.
- Honey and Lemon
For centuries, honey has become one of the most popular natural remedies for coughs and sore throats. Some cough preparations have this natural product as one their ingredients. One reason is that it has compounds that can reduce swelling and ward off bacteria or viruses. Adding lemon to honey will make this remedy more effective. Lemon is rich in vitamin C, which can strengthen your immune system. It also offers antimicrobial properties.
You can use this remedy in several ways. You can make lemon juice with honey. A warm beverage such as ginger tea will be more flavorful, soothing, and effective with these two natural products.
Gingerol is a compound present in ginger that helps reduce swelling. This is the primary reason for ginger’s efficacy in relieving a sore throat, coughing, and congestion.
Drinking ginger tea is the most common method to get rid of coughs. You can also chew small pieces of this spice for a couple of minutes. Another option is ginger oil. You can use it for steam inhalation or rub it on your chest.
Turmeric is another infamous spice used for treating dry cough due to its curcumin. This compound can help reduce swelling and fight harmful microorganisms.
To use this spice, you can mix it with honey and take it two or three times a day. You can also make a ginger-turmeric tea. Another option is to make a concoction by adding turmeric powder (1 teaspoon) and black pepper (1 teaspoon) in a cup of freshly boiled water. You can also add cinnamon and honey to make this concoction flavorful and potent. Black pepper will not only help soothe your breathing, it will also increase the absorption of turmeric.
Eucalyptus is a common ingredient in lozenges and cough preparations. One reason is due to its cineole contents. This compound helps ease breathing by loosening mucus in the lungs and reducing swelling. This oil is also helpful if you are experiencing nasal congestion.
To use this remedy, you can either use eucalyptus oil for steam inhalation or make a tea by boiling the leaves. However, eucalyptus may have undesirable effects for patients with asthma, kidney disease, liver disease, and low blood pressure.
Bromelain is an enzyme abundant in pineapple and an anti-inflammatory agent. This compound can also help suppress coughs and make the mucus thin. Drinking pineapple juice when you have a dry cough will not only soothe your breathing, it can also boost your immune system due to its vitamin C and other essential nutrients.
- Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea has anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat sore throats and coughing. It can also offer sedating effects, which will help you relax and fall asleep. This effect is valuable, especially if you are suffering from an incessant cough at night.