How to halt your hacking
From a dry tickle at the back of your throat to a never-ending hacking to a gut-wrenching, sputum-producing heave - coughing is one miserable symptom that seems to accompany a variety of health problems. Colds, flu, heartburn and even some drugs such as ACE inhibitors cause coughing.
Coughing can lead to serious health problems like urinary incontinence and rectal and vaginal muscle strain. But even without additional problems, coughing is irritating enough in itself to warrant some cures.
Here are some ways to relieve your discomfort when coughing strikes.
Get that chicken soup comfort. If you are coughing up phlegm, you need to let nature take its course and even help it along. Warm soup will help speed the process of coughing up the phlegm and mucus caught in your lungs. When your body coughs productively, it can clean out unwanted substances in your lungs.
Drink warm liquids and plain water. Warm liquids and water are the best ways to loosen mucus in your lungs so that it's easier to cough up. If your cough accompanies other cold and flu symptoms, try to drink at least eight to 10 glasses of liquids a day. Liquids will help keep a fever down, soothe a sore throat, and help your body flush out germs.
Take the right kind of cough medicine. If you are coughing up phlegm, you need to take an expectorant that will help you cough. If you have a dry cough that doesn't bring up any mucus, you can use a cough suppressant. Suppressants are also called antitussives, and they come in both liquid form and lozenge form.
Sip some herbal teas. Hyssop and chamomile teas will soothe your throat and relieve a cough. Horehound works well too. You can usually find horehound lozenges at health-food stores.
Take a hot shower or a steamy bath. Use a humidifier or sit in a steamy room to help loosen the mucus in your lungs.
Eat a banana. Heartburn is the culprit for about one in every 10 chronic coughers, and researchers have found that bananas are a great natural solution for heartburn. Banana powder, a dried, ground-up form of the fruit, also works well. Other heartburn remedies include raising the head of your bed, avoiding food and drink before bedtime, losing weight and eating more slowly.
Put down that cigarette. Have you ever met a smoker who doesn't have a chronic cough? Even if you don't smoke, if you work or live with people who do, passive smoke could be the culprit for your cough. Put your foot down about your smoky environment, or you could be coughing and wheezing forever.
If your cough goes on and on and gets worse instead of better, make sure you see a doctor. Coughing up blood, shortness of breath when you cough or sharp pains in your chest when you cough are all sure signs that a doctor's visit is in order.