If there is one thing that is more annoying than having a cough, it has to be having a dry cough. If your cough does not produce mucus, or phlegm, then you know it’s a dry cough. A cough is a perfectly natural defensive mechanism of the body. It works as a reflex to propel blockages in the throat to make sure that you can breathe.
There are a huge number of potential causes for a dry cough, including a range of diseases and conditions, as well as things like the inhalation of a foreign object. There is more information available about dry cough causes.
Regardless of the cause of the cough, most sufferers wish to seek remedies for dry coughing that will provide them with immediate relief, whether or not they will tackle the underlying cause of the cough. A widely regarded definition of ‘remedy’ is that it is “A medicine or treatment for a disease of injury”. In this case, we are using the term ‘remedy’ to refer to a treatment of the symptoms, rather than an attempt to cure the cough itself.
Dry Cough Home Remedies
These treatments are good to use as a first port of call for a dry cough sufferer. They can easily be applied with little or no previous medical knowledge or experience, and are intended to be the first (and least drastic) form of treatment. It must be noted that these home remedies for dry coughing aren’t scientific tested, and have merely been reported to work. With that said, the ingredients involved in creating the remedies are harmless, and even if they don’t provide relief for the dry cough, they will not do any damage either. It is advisable to try several of the remedies in order to ascertain which treatments are the most effective for your particular cough.
- Drink a lot of warm water: Your cough is what is known as an “unproductive cough”. This means that you are not actually coughing up any mucus or phlegm, and while this may sound preferable, the lack of lubrication in your throat is what leads to the agonising pain, irritation, and swelling associated with having a dry cough.
- Add lemon juice and honey to warm water: Drink this mixture up to three times a day, particularly first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
- Gargle lukewarm salt water: Use sea salt (not table salt), and mix one part of salt with four parts water.
- Gargle spinach juice: Warm the spinach juice up slightly, and this mixture will soothe your throat.
- Drink water mixed with apple cider vinegar: Mix three spoonsful of apple cider vinegar into a cup of cool water, and then gradually sip throughout the day.
- Gargle with a decoction of henna: Boil henna leaves in water and then strain before drinking.
- Eat tulsi and honey: Mix raw tulsi leaves with honey and eat first thing in the morning.
- Turmeric with milk: Stir half a pinch of turmeric into a cup of hot milk, and then drink.
- Suck cardamom: Put a small piece of cardamom into your mouth before bed and allow it to melt. As the juices flow down your throat they will soothe.
- Chew ginger. Sprinkle a small pinch of salt on fresh ginger and chew.
- Drink ginger infused water. If chewing raw ginger is too much for you, then chop the raw ginger into fine pieces and boil in water. Strain, add honey to sweeten, and then drink. This mixture is a great one to reduce the tickling associated with a dry cough.
- Honey in milk: Stir honey into a cup of hot milk and drink before bed. This honey mixture is a great dry cough remedy, as it coats the throat, reducing irritation and allowing you to fall asleep.
Simple dry cough remedies
These are a list of simple steps you can take to help alter the environment around you to help avoid any extra irritation to your throat. Some of them involve making changes to the space in which you reside, for example the room you spend most of your time in. The rest of the steps are lifestyle remedies, in which a simple change to the way you carry out your day can help reduce the agony of a tickly dry cough.
- Use a humidifier: If you don’t have one, a low end inexpensive humidifier will do the job perfectly. Using a humidifier ensures there is sufficient moisture in the air. This is one of the simplest ways to change your environment, and breathing in dry air when you have a dry cough is a big no-no.
- Maintain airflow: So maybe the previous step isn’t quite as simple as this one! Open a window or use a normal fan to keep the air temperature comfortable cool and ensure a fresh airflow.
- Avoid smoke inhalation: If you are a smoker, now would be a great time to quit, or at least cut down. The smoke of a cigarette will temporarily numb the throat receptors, giving smokers a false belief that the cigarette smoke Is providing them with relief from their cough. It is in fact quite the opposite, and after the few minutes of relief are over, your throat will be more irritated and tickly than it was before the cigarette. If you often spend time with people while they smoke, it might be sensible to distance yourself from the smoke they produce, and ask smokers to avoid filling the room with smoke.
- Vacuum: If you have a pet (or if your house is just a little bit dirty), then crack out the vacuum cleaner. Pick up as much hair, dust, and grime from furniture and clothing. Floating hair and airborne particles of dust can both add irritation to a dry cough.
- Avoid sprays: Perfumes and aerosol sprays will all lead to greater irritation when breathed in.
- Get enough sleep: Whatever the cause of the cough is, if it is treatable, it will more than likely improve with sleep.
If you’ve tried as many home remedies as you can, and you’re getting sick of the taste of honey and spices, then it might be time to consider using over-the-counter remedies. First and foremost, and as with any medical treatment, ask the pharmacist for recommendations. There is also more detailed dry cough medicine available.
There are a few things to look out for when picking up an over-the-counter dry cough remedy. There are a lot of companies trying to make profit, so make sure you’re not just buying something based on a fancy advert or stand-out packaging. If you are looking to quell the cough reflex in order to reduce the impulse you have to cough, look for a product that contains the active ingredient dextromethorphan. To soothe the pain caused by a dry cough, look for medicine that contains acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Remember to always use drugs as directed by the packaging or physician. Cough suppressants have been known to cause irritability, sleepiness, and dizziness, particularly in the elderly. It is important to note that if any adverse side effects are noticed, stop using the medicine immediately and seek professional medical assistance.