15 No-Fail Ways to Stop Coughing Now

coughing woman bed
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It starts as an innocuous tickle in the back of the throat, but before long, there's throat strain, hacking unearthly sounds, and breaking into a sweat. No, we aren't talking about demon possession -- we're talking about a cough. A terrible, awful, no good cough. An when it comes down to it, there are few things more annoying and uncomfortable than a cough.

Nausea can give it a run for its money, and a sniffly nose is no day at the amusement park, but in the end, coughing definitely wins in the unfun department. Especially when it comes to trying to sleep. We've all been there -- exhausted and run down, and all we want to do is sleep ... and can't.

Because, um, coughing. And coughing. And coughing.

More from CafeMom: 9 Natural Ways to Stop Coughing in Kids

Occasionally coughing is totally normal, but a persistent cough can indicate medical problems. Specifically, there are two types of coughs to be aware of. One is known as "acute" which means it is persistent but lasts less than three weeks. "Chronic" coughs last longer than eight weeks (four in children) and are caused by everything from allergies to bronchitis. 

But there is hope. Aside from seeking medical treatment, there are plenty of natural remedies worth giving a shot. Here are 15 ways to stop coughing now.


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  • Steam

    1

    Taking a shower, or just sitting with your head over a bowl of hot water, will help loosen up the phlegm and break up congestion, which should shorten the duration of your cough. And not to mention, it feels amazing.

  • Honey

    2

    You know tea is good for a sore throat and cough, but when you add honey, it's even more therapeutic. And for instant (not necessarily long-lasting) cough relief, try sucking on a honey stick. Yum!

  • Get a massage

    3

    o5com/Flickr

    You don't want to get a massage during the peak of your cold, but once things seem like they're starting to break up a bit, try going for one, as they help rid your body of unwanted toxins. Just be sure to drink plenty of water after. (And it's a good excuse to get a massage!)

  • Turmeric

    4

    Besides being a great additive to dishes, turmeric powder is a great natural cough remedy -- particularly for dry coughs. Try mixing a teaspoon of turmeric into a cup of milk and heat over the stove for a minute. Drink while still warm.

  • Humidifier

    5

    Help break up a dry cough by adding some moisture to your room. Plug in a humidifier -- and leave it by your bedside -- right before going to bed. Add a vapor remedy to the humidifier to increase the action of the steam.

  • Hydrate

    6

    Fluids can help get rid of nasty phlegm and thin out secretions out, while also soothing an irritated throat, so staying hydrated is a must.

  • Sniff eucalyptus

    7

    Many herbs out are said to help offer relief of colds and the flu, but the Australian plant eucalyptus goes way back as a cough and congestion reliever. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a your steamy bath. Or try rubbing an ointment containing eucalyptus on your chest. The oil is said to help loosen phlegm.

  • Have chicken soup

    8

    Chicken soup 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.

  • Enjoy cocoa

    9

    Apparently, theobromine -- an ingredient in chocolate -- suppresses vagus nerve activity involved in coughing. Plus, research shows chocolate is nearly a third more effective in stopping persistent coughs than the narcotic codeine. Sweet!

  • Eat sesame oil

    10

    University of Beirut researchers showed that sesame oil actually reduced cough symptoms more than a placebo, and it was more effective in kids! You can cook with it or add it to dips (like hummus)!

  • Reach for menthol

    11

    Balm with menthol rubbed on your chest or menthol cough drops can help clear up nasal passages and relieve coughs quick.

  • Eliminate air irritants (like perfume)

    12

    Coughs may be triggered by irritants in the air, such as hairspray or perfume or household air fresheners. Eliminating these from the environment could do wonders to quash your cough.

  • Sleep on an incline

    13

    Propping your head up with extra pillows can stop postnasal drainage and mucus that backs up and irritates your throat when you lay down at night. Defy gravity by sleeping on a bit of an incline, and you may be able to keep coughs at bay.

  • Clean your sheets

    14

    Similar to perfumes, irritants in your bed (like dust mites) might be setting off an allergic reaction. If you're suffering from a chronic cough, be sure to wash your bedding in hot water once a week.

  • Sip green tea

    15

    In addition to helping you stay hydrated, antioxidant-packed green tea can help reduce upper repiratory infection symptoms. (Bonus: It may also help stave off the flu!)

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