If you recall from our previous blog article, coughs are determined as either productive or non-productive. Productive coughs produce mucus, which is expelled from the lungs and should not be suppressed. Whereas, non-productive coughs, also known as dry coughs do not produce mucus. These types of coughs tend to have a tickling sensation at the back of the throat and are irritating.
How to Treat Coughs
Coughs can be treated either with natural remedies or with the help of OTC (over the counter) medicines. The type and severity of a cough determines the type of treatment:
- Steam – Taking long warm baths or using air humidifiers will create steam. This will help soothe both dry and productive coughs.
- Consuming natural ingredients – The anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties of ginger, turmeric and garlic as well as the soothing effects of honey help to subside both productive and non-productive coughs. Tip: Add a tablespoon of honey and a couple of slices of ginger to your tea to soothe your cough. Drinking it right before bedtime will allow for a better goodnight sleep.
- Gargle salt water to help clear mucus from the throat.
- Staying hydrated not only improves skin hydration but also helps thin out mucus.
If the cough did not clear up even after trying natural remedies, resorting to medicinal products might do the trick. Such medicines are over the counter medicines, which means they can be bought without a prescription. However, it is always important to consult your doctor and pharmacist to properly examine your cough and recommend the right type of treatment.
The two main types of cough medicines are Cough Expectorants and
Cough expectorants are used with productive coughs and help thin out and loosen mucus, clearing out the congestion, and aiding easier breathing. Remember this…that expelling mucus out of the airway passages with the help of cough expectorants should only be used when the cough is a productive one.
Cough suppressants used to treat dry coughs are also known as antitussives. These relieve the cough by blocking the cough reflex. Cough suppressants usually contain an active ingredient called Dextromethorphan.
Even though OTC cough medicines are readily available, one should not use them liberally. Remember that the best way to diagnose a persistent cough is to get advice from a health care professional.