How to Stop Coughing: A Comprehensive Guide to Relieve Persistent Cough

How to Stop Coughing: A Comprehensive Guide to Relieve Persistent Cough

Are you tired of dealing with that nagging cough that just won't go away? Whether it's caused by a common cold, allergies, or respiratory infections, a persistent cough can be extremely bothersome and disruptive to your daily life. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various effective methods and remedies to help you stop coughing and find the relief you deserve.

In this article, we will cover everything from understanding the different types of coughs to natural remedies, over-the-counter medications, and lifestyle changes that can alleviate your symptoms. So, if you're ready to bid farewell to that incessant cough and enjoy a peaceful night's sleep, let's dive right in!

Understanding the Types of Coughs

When it comes to finding the right remedy for your cough, it's crucial to understand the underlying cause and the type of cough you're experiencing. Coughs can be classified into different categories, such as dry coughs and productive coughs. Dry coughs are non-productive and often caused by irritation, while productive coughs help clear the airways by expelling mucus or phlegm.

Dry Coughs

Dry coughs are characterized by a tickling or scratching sensation in the throat. They may be caused by various factors such as viral infections, allergies, or irritants like smoke or dust. Dry coughs can be particularly bothersome as they don't produce any mucus or phlegm, making it harder to find relief.

Productive Coughs

Productive coughs, on the other hand, are commonly associated with respiratory infections like the common cold or flu. These coughs help clear the airways by expelling excess mucus or phlegm. The presence of mucus or phlegm indicates that your body is actively fighting off an infection or trying to remove irritants from the respiratory system.

By identifying the type of cough you have, you can choose the most appropriate remedies to address your specific symptoms and provide relief.

Natural Remedies for Cough Relief

When it comes to alleviating cough symptoms, natural remedies can be a gentle yet effective approach. These remedies often have fewer side effects compared to over-the-counter medications and can be easily prepared at home. Let's explore some natural remedies that can help soothe your cough and promote healing.

Herbal Teas

Herbal teas have been used for centuries to relieve cough symptoms and provide comfort during illness. Certain herbs, such as peppermint, ginger, and chamomile, have natural soothing properties that can help calm cough reflexes and reduce throat irritation. Prepare a cup of warm herbal tea and sip it slowly to ease your cough symptoms.


Honey is known for its soothing and antibacterial properties, making it an excellent natural remedy for cough relief. It can help coat the throat, reduce irritation, and suppress the cough reflex. Mix a teaspoon of honey with warm water or herbal tea and consume it several times a day for relief. However, note that honey should not be given to children under one year of age due to the risk of botulism.

Steam Inhalation

Steam inhalation can provide immediate relief from coughing by moisturizing the airways and reducing throat irritation. Boil a pot of water, remove it from the heat, and lean over the pot while covering your head with a towel. Breathe in the steam for 10-15 minutes, being cautious not to burn yourself. For added benefits, you can add a few drops of essential oils like eucalyptus or peppermint to the hot water.

Saltwater Gargle

Gargling with warm saltwater can help reduce inflammation and irritation in the throat, providing temporary relief from coughing. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, gargle the solution in the back of your throat for 30 seconds, and then spit it out. Repeat this several times a day to soothe your cough.

Humidifier or Vaporizer

Dry air can worsen cough symptoms, especially during the winter months when indoor heating dries out the air. Using a humidifier or vaporizer can add moisture to the air, relieving throat dryness and reducing coughing. Make sure to clean and maintain the device properly to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria.

Over-the-Counter Medications to Suppress Cough

If your cough persists or becomes more severe, over-the-counter medications can provide temporary relief and help suppress coughing. These medications are available without a prescription and come in various forms, including cough suppressants and expectorants. Let's explore the different options and how they work.

Cough Suppressants

Cough suppressants, also known as antitussives, work by blocking the cough reflex in the brain. They can provide temporary relief from persistent coughing, particularly dry coughs. Common active ingredients found in cough suppressants include dextromethorphan and codeine. It's important to follow the dosage instructions and consult a pharmacist if you have any underlying medical conditions or are taking other medications to avoid potential interactions.


Expectorants help thin and loosen mucus or phlegm, making it easier to cough up and expel from the respiratory system. They are beneficial for productive coughs that are accompanied by excessive mucus production. Guaifenesin is a commonly used expectorant that can be found in many over-the-counter cough medications. Remember to drink plenty of fluids when taking expectorants to enhance their effectiveness.

Cough Drops and Lozenges

Cough drops and lozenges are widely available and provide temporary relief by soothing the throat and suppressing the cough reflex. They often contain ingredients like menthol, eucalyptus, or honey, which help numb the throat and reduce irritation. Suck on a cough drop or lozenge as needed throughout the day to alleviate your cough symptoms.

Nasal Decongestants

If your cough is accompanied by nasal congestion, using a nasal decongestant spray or drops can help relieve congestion and post-nasal drip, which can trigger coughing. These medications work by shrinking the blood vessels in the nasal passages, reducing swelling and congestion. However, nasal decongestants should not be used for more than a few days to avoid rebound congestion.

Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Coughing

In addition to natural remedies and medications, making certain lifestyle changes can significantly reduce coughing episodes and promote overall respiratory health. Consider incorporating the following tips into your daily routine to minimize coughing and improve your well-being.

Avoid Irritants

Irritants in the environment can trigger or worsen coughing. Identify and avoid common irritants such as smoke, dust, strong perfumes, and chemical fumes. If you have allergies, take steps to minimize exposure to allergens like pollen, pet dander, or mold spores. Keep your living space clean and well-ventilated to reduce the accumulation of irritants.

Maintain Hydration

Proper hydration is essential for thinning mucus and keeping the respiratory system moist. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, such as water, herbal teas, and clear broths. Avoid excessive consumption of caffeine or alcohol, as they can dehydrate the body and worsen cough symptoms.

Elevate Your Head While Sleeping

Postnasal drip or reflux can lead to coughing, especially during the night. Elevate your head by using an extra pillow or propping up the head of your bed with blocks to prevent mucus from pooling in the throat and triggering coughing episodes.

Practice Good Hand Hygiene

Regularly washing your hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizer can help prevent the spread of respiratory infections that can cause coughing. Avoid touching your face, particularly your nose and mouth, as this can introduce germs into your respiratory system.

Stay Active and Exercise

Engaging in regular physical activity can enhance lung function and strengthen your immune system. Exercise also helps improve circulation and clears mucus from the airways. Find activities that you enjoy and make them a part of your routine, whether it's walking, jogging, yoga, or swimming.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While most coughs are harmless and resolve on their own, there are instances when medical intervention is necessary. It's important to be aware of the warning signs that indicate the need for medical evaluation and guidance regarding your persistent cough. Seek medical attention if:

Severe or Prolonged Cough

If your cough is severe, lasts for more than a few weeks, or is accompanied by high fever, chest pain, or shortness of breath, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional. These symptoms may indicate an underlying condition that requires medical treatment.

Coughing up Blood

If you cough up blood or notice blood in your mucus, it's crucial to seek immediate medical attention. Coughing up blood can be a sign of a serious underlying condition that needs prompt evaluation and treatment.

Other Concerning Symptoms

If your cough is accompanied by weight loss, night sweats, fatigue, or difficulty swallowing, it's important to consult a healthcare professional. These symptoms may indicate an underlying systemic illness that requires further investigation.

Remember, it's always better to err on the side of caution and seek medical advice if you have any concerns about your persistent cough.

Breathing Exercises for Cough Relief

Specific breathing exercises and techniques can help calm and control your coughing episodes. These exercises promote relaxation, enhance lung capacity, and improve your body's ability to manage coughing effectively. Let's explore some breathing exercises that can provide relief.

Deep Belly Breathing

Deep belly breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, helps expand the lungs fully and reduces the frequency and intensity of coughing. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position, place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Take a slow, deep breath through your nose, allowing your abdomen to rise as you inhale. Exhale slowly through your mouth, noticing your abdomen lowering. Repeat this exercise several times, focusing on the sensation of your breath filling your belly.

Pursed-Lip Breathing

Pursed-lip breathing can help regulate your breathing pattern and reduce coughing. Inhale slowly through your nose for a count of two, then purse your lips as if you were going to blow out a candle. Exhale slowly and evenly through pursed lips for a count of four. Repeat this exercise several times, allowing your breath to become calm and controlled.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Alternate nostril breathing is a technique that helps balance and harmonize the breath. Sit comfortably with your spine straight. Place your right thumb over your right nostril and gently close it. Inhale deeply through your left nostril. At the top of your inhalation, release your right nostril and close your left nostril with your ring finger. Exhale slowly through your right nostril. Inhale through the right nostril, close it with your thumb, and exhale through the left nostril. Repeat this cycle for several rounds, focusing on the smooth and even flow of your breath.

Box Breathing

Box breathing, also known as square breathing, is a technique that helps regulate and control your breath. Visualize a square shape and imagine tracing each side of the square with your breath. Inhale slowly for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, exhale slowly for a count of four, and hold your breath for a count of four before beginning the next cycle. Repeat this exercise several times, allowing each breath to become smooth and effortless.

Managing Coughing at Night

Nighttime coughing can be particularly disruptive and prevent you from getting a good night's sleep. The following strategies can help reduce coughing at night, allowing you to rest and recover.

Elevate Your Head

As mentioned earlier, elevating your head while sleeping can help minimize coughing at night. Use an extra pillow to prop yourself up or consider using a wedge pillow specifically designed for this purpose. By keeping your head and upper body elevated, you can reduce the likelihood of postnasal drip triggering coughing episodes.

Use a Humidifier

Using a humidifier in your bedroom can add moisture to the air, relieving throat dryness and reducing coughing. Opt for a cool mist humidifier to avoid any risk of burns, especially if you have children or pets. Be sure to clean and maintain the humidifier properly to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria.

Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration is essential throughout the day, including before bedtime. Drink a glass of water or soothing herbal tea before going to bed to keep your throat moist and reduce coughing. Avoid consuming excessive fluids close to bedtime to prevent nighttime bathroom trips that can disrupt your sleep.

Try a Cough Suppressant

If your coughing at night is particularly bothersome and prevents you from sleeping, consider using a cough suppressant as recommended by your pharmacist or healthcare provider. This can provide temporary relief and allow you to get the restful sleep you need to recover.

Herbal Remedies for Cough Relief

Herbal remedies have been used for centuries to alleviate cough symptoms and promote respiratory health. These natural remedies can provide relief without the side effects often associated with medications. Let's explore some herbal remedies that can help soothe your cough.

Marshmallow Root

Marshmallow root has demulcent properties, meaning it forms a protective coating in the throat, reducing irritation and suppressing coughing. You can prepare marshmallow root tea by steeping the dried root in hot water for 10-15 minutes. Strain and drink the tea several times a day to relieve cough symptoms.


Thyme is a herb known for its antimicrobial and expectorant properties, making it an excellent remedy for cough relief. Prepare thyme tea by steeping fresh or dried thyme leaves in hot water for 10 minutes. Strain and drink the tea to help soothe your cough and congestion.

Licorice Root

Licorice root has been used traditionally to relieve cough symptoms, especially those associated with bronchitis. It has expectorant and demulcent properties that can help loosen mucus and soothe irritation. Brew licorice root tea by steeping a teaspoon of dried licorice root in hot water for 10-15 minutes. Drink the tea several times a day to ease your cough.


Peppermint has a cooling and soothing effect on the throat, making it a popular choice for cough relief. You can prepare peppermint tea by steeping fresh or dried peppermint leaves in hot water for 10 minutes. Strain and drink the tea to calm your cough and ease throat irritation.

Coping Strategies for Chronic Cough

Dealing with a chronic cough that lasts for more than eight weeks can be challenging. Along with seeking medical advice, implementing coping strategies can help you maintain a positive mindset and effectively manage your cough. Consider the following strategies:

Seek Support

Living with a chronic cough can be emotionally and physically draining. Reach out to friends, family, or support groups who can offer understanding, empathy, and practical advice. Sharing your experiences and concerns with others who have similar conditions can provide a sense of relief and support.

Practice Stress Management

Stress can worsen coughing episodes and make them more frequent. Incorporate stress management techniques into your daily routine, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or engaging in hobbies you enjoy. By reducing stress levels, you may notice a decrease in the intensity and frequency of your cough.

Stay Positive and Patient

Dealing with a chronic cough can be frustrating, but maintaining a positive mindset is crucial. Remember that finding the right treatment approach takes time, and it may require some trial and error. Be patient with yourself and trust that with perseverance, you will find relief.

Prevention Tips for Future Coughs

Prevention is always better than cure. While it's not always possible to prevent coughs entirely, certain measures can minimize your chances of developing a cough in the future. Consider the following preventive tips:

Practice Good Hygiene

Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in public places or touching potentially contaminated surfaces. Avoid touching your face, particularly your nose and mouth, as this can introduce germs into your respiratory system.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Eating a balanced diet, staying physically active, and getting enough sleep are essential for maintaining a strong immune system. A healthy lifestyle can help reduce your susceptibility to respiratory infections that often lead to coughing.

Get Vaccinated

Ensure that you receive recommended vaccinations, such as the flu vaccine, to protect yourself from viral infections that can cause coughs. Vaccination can significantly reduce the risk and severity of respiratory illnesses.

Avoid Smoking and Secondhand Smoke

Smoking damages the respiratory system and weakens the body's defense mechanisms, making you more prone to coughing and respiratory infections. If you smoke, quitting is the best option for your overall health. Additionally, avoid exposure to secondhand smoke as it can also irritate the airways and trigger coughing.

Practice Allergen Control

If you have allergies, take steps to minimize exposure to allergens. Keep your living space clean and dust-free, use allergen-proof bedding covers, and avoid outdoor activities during peak pollen seasons. Taking allergy medication as recommended by your healthcare provider can also help prevent coughs triggered by allergies.

In conclusion, a persistent cough can be frustrating and disrupt your daily life. However, with the comprehensive information provided in this guide, you now have an array of tools to tackle your cough head-on. Whether you choose natural remedies, over-the-counter medications, or lifestyle changes, finding relief from your cough is within reach. Remember, if your symptoms persist or worsen, it's always advisable to seek medical attention. Here's to a cough-free future!

In conclusion, persistent coughing can be a distressing and disruptive symptom, but with the right approach, it can be managed effectively. Understanding the types of coughs, utilizing natural remedies, considering over-the-counter medications, making lifestyle changes, and practicing breathing exercises are all valuable strategies in your journey to stop coughing. Remember to listen to your body, seek medical attention when necessary, and be patient with yourself as you explore different remedies. With the comprehensive information provided in this guide, you are equipped with the knowledge to find the relief you deserve and regain control over your respiratory health.

Bid farewell to that nagging cough and embrace a life free from its interruptions. By implementing the tips and techniques outlined in this guide, you can alleviate your cough symptoms, improve your overall well-being, and enjoy the simple pleasure of a peaceful night's sleep. Take charge of your cough and embark on a journey towards a healthier, cough-free future. Here's to a breath of fresh air!