There’s nothing worse than an awful cold–except perhaps a nagging cough that lasts for weeks afterward. It might seem easy to get over the initial sickness part of the virus, but what happens when you cannot get over the cough that lingers for weeks on end? It doesn’t matter how many times you tell people you’re not sick anymore, when they hear you hacking, they want to steer clear of you–understandably!
The average time for most cold symptoms to disappear is around ten days. Sadly, some annoying coughs can linger on past the 18-day mark. The reason for this annoying occurrence is that your immune system is fighting hard to return your airways to a normal state.
Just because your congestion is gone doesn’t mean that you won’t have some lingering postnasal drip. No, the annoying cough won’t last forever, though it will seem as such. A doctor should evaluate any cold that lingers for more than 30 days.
Not all nagging coughs are caused by a virus. You could have other medical ailments like GERD, allergies, asthma, or even a heart condition. Plus, you can’t rule out conditions such as COPD, either.
Top 10 Ways to Get Over a Nagging Cough at Home
If you’re tired of hacking and coughing fits, then here are ten ways to help you.
1. Use Honey
Dextromethorphan is a common ingredient used in most over-the-counter cough suppressants. However, one study found that using honey can be just as effective as these chemical suppressants. Manuka honey is a particular type of honey that is native to New Zealand, and it’s known for its extensive healing properties.
It can be found in most grocery stores, but it’s best to buy from a local dealer. Dealers in your area not only support bee conservation, but this homemade product is a blend of local pollen, which can be beneficial in all ways.
2. Try a Neti Pot
Did you know that the mucus inside your nose has infection-fighting white blood cells in it? You don’t want to wash too much of that away, but you also don’t want too much clogging your system either. A Neti pot is an excellent tool that can holistically help you to breathe and clear those airways.
Postnasal drip can cause a nagging cough that makes you want to scream, so washing away some of the mucus can help.
3. Use an Air Purifier
There are many irritants in the air of your home that can contribute to your nagging cough. For instance, if you have a pet, the pet dander can make your cough worse. An air purifier will cleanse your air and allow you to breathe better.
Plus, it can help remove toxins from the air that are dangerous for your respiratory system.
4. Get Plenty of Rest
Rest is an essential part of keeping your immune system healthy. When you’re asleep, your body is busy building and repairing your damaged cells. If you don’t get the rest you need, then your body cannot function as it should.
Plus, you cannot fight off a nagging cough when you’re exhausted and barely hanging on from a lack of rest.
5. Wash Your Hands Often
Germs are everywhere. While you need some germs to help build immunity, the overabundance of them can make you sick. During sickness, use an antibacterial soap to ensure you get as many bacteria off your hands as possible.
It should be noted that you shouldn’t use antibacterial soaps continuously. They should be reserved for times of high risk of infection or illness. It would help if you had some healthy bacteria to keep your body in defense mode.
6. Take Natural Supplements
If you reach for cough drops and other over-the-counter concoctions to try to ease a nagging cough, you may be taking chemicals that you don’t need. Did you know that pseudoephedrine, a popular ingredient in cough suppressants, can be chemically altered to make meth? Why do you think they keep it behind the counter and make you show identification for it?
Thankfully, Mother Nature has some incredibly useful alternatives that don’t have any side effects, and you don’t need an ID to obtain. Slippery elm is a great alternative to cough drops as it coats the throat and provides a numbing action. Vitamin C can help to boost your immunity to get over that nagging cough.
Turmeric has become quite popular these days for its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties, plus you probably have it in your spice rack. Ginger is another herb that is known to ease a nagging cough due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Whatever your ailment, nature provides the cure.
7. Try Steam
A lovely shower or bath feels good when you’re sick, but it’s also beneficial to your respiratory system. Steam helps to open your clogged passageways so you can breathe better. Thankfully, it also makes it easier for the mucus to slide down and the coughing to stop.
If you don’t feel like getting in the shower, heat some water over the stove. Then pour the water into a large bowl, put a towel over your head, and soak in that glorious steam. You will be surprised how much it helps your coughing.
8. Eat Dark Chocolate
If you think you read that wrong, you should know you didn’t. Dark chocolate can absolutely help with your coughing. The compound theobromine is what’s responsible for the healing properties.
All you need is one teaspoon of dark chocolate, every four hours. Try it for a week and see how much better your cough is and your breathing too. Did you know they often use this method on people who suffer from COPD or asthma?
9. Don’t Smoke or be Around Secondhand Smoke
You know smoking is bad for you, but it’s a hard habit to break. If you smoke while you’re dealing with a cold, then it can make things much worse. Smoking restricts blood flow and can narrow your breathing passages.
Why do you think so many chronic smokers have COPD or asthma? What’s worse than smoking is second-hand smoke. Being around someone who smokes when you have a horrible cough is only going to make things worse. Smoke can take your breath away, and you need all you can get when you’re trying to fight a cough.
10. Stay Hydrated
Your body is about 60 percent water. You need water to stay hydrated or to keep things at the optimal levels. While some people say that you should drink eight glasses of water each day, it’s just an educated guess.
It would help if you were drinking enough water for your body composition. Using an online hydration calculator will consider your age, the weather outside, your height, weight, and overall health. Some people need more water than others, so you want to make sure you get the proper amount.
Hydration is essential for keeping things flowing freely. Water helps flush mucus as well as providing much-needed oxygen to your cells. While it’s acceptable to have one cup of coffee or other beverage each day, the rest of your consumption should be pure H20.
Things to Consider
Most coughs will linger for a bit, but a few warning signs indicate it’s time to seek medical intervention. Here are some things to consider that maybe your cough is an infection.
• Coughing Up Phlegm
It’s completely normal to cough up phlegm when you’re sick. You need to examine the color of the mucus. If it’s clear to white color, then this is normal. However, if the color is green, bright yellow, or red, it’s a sign of infection. You don’t want to mess around with infection.
• You Experience Breathing Problems
Breathing problems and a cough run together. However, if you feel tightness in your chest, a burning sensation, or a hard time getting your breath, you need to see a doctor. You could have an infection that has developed into an upper respiratory situation.
• You Have A Fever
A fever is a sign that your body is fighting off an infection. If you thought you were done with this cold, the nagging symptoms could be lingering for a reason. Things like pneumonia can cause you to be extremely sick, even when you think you’re past the worst of it.
• You Are Sneezing Constantly
Sneezing with a chronic cough can point to a sinus or allergy issue. Allergy testing may be warranted if this condition lingers, and it can easily show you what’s irritating your airways and why your nagging cough just wont budge.
• You Have Stomach Issues
A cold follows typical patterns and symptoms. However, stomach issues like indigestion and diarrhea are not two of them. Nausea can be caused by excessive mucus, but it’s not typical.
Any digestive problems need to be evaluated as it could be the flu and not a cold.
Finally, a nagging cough is typically just a part of the process of getting over a cold. When it comes to conditions like bronchitis, it may seem that the cold will never go away. Thankfully, it will pass, and you will get better. If anything lingers more than the 18-20-day mark, then you should seek medical intervention.