Ever have one of those fall or winter mornings, days, or WEEKS when you just can't stop coughing your brains out? When almost no amount of cough drops under the sun are helping, and you feel like crawling under the covers? Yeah, we've all been sick as THAT dog at some point, and it's just awful.
Thankfully, there are some tricks you can pull from up your sleeve should the Worst Cough in the World strike! Here, six surprising ways to stop a nasty cough in its tracks.
- Get hydrated. Fluids can help get all that nasty phlegm and secretions thinned out (I know, totally gross) and also soothe an irritated throat. If your cough is dry and hacking, you could try honey in hot water, tea, or lemon juice.
- Inhale. It's not just an old wives' tale that inhaling steam for several minutes (in a hot shower, over a sink, etc.) can clear up congestion and curb a persistent cough. It loosens up secretions and makes coughs more productive, hopefully shortening the duration with which you're saddled with said coughs!
- Go Down Under. There are tons of herbs out there said to help relieve colds and the flu, of course, but the Aussie plant, eucalyptus, goes way back as a cough and congestion reliever. You can add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a your steamy bath (see #2). Or try rubbing an ointment containing eucalyptus on your chest. The oil is said to help loosen phlegm.
- Have the soup that isn't only good for the soul. Chicken soup -- which like #2 is one of those things you think your grandma is cute for suggesting but probably only has a placebo effect -- is actually study-proven to work! Research at the University of Nebraska concluded that it's anti-inflammatory, and speeds up the discharge of mucus to ease the symptoms of cold-related coughs. It may be the combo of all the goodies in the broth that have this effect.
- Go koo-koo for cocoa. YES, I know, this has to be the best advice ever, right? Apparently, theobromine -- an ingredient in chocolate -- suppresses vagus nerve activity involved in coughing. And get this! Research shows chocolate is nearly a third more effective in stopping persistent coughs than the narcotic codeine. Sweet!
- Head to Sesame Street. No, not the show! University of Beirut researchers showed that sesame oil actually reduced cough symptoms more than a placebo, and it was more effective in kids!
What's your go-to trick for curing a persistent cough?
Image via boo lee/Flickr