How to stop a bout of coughing

Written by ann craney
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How to stop a bout of coughing
A severe and persistent cough can cause distress and discomfort. (Frau hustet image by R.-Andreas Klein from

Methods for resolving a persistent or severe cough depend on the type of cough. For instance, a cough may be dry, produce phlegm or be caused by a dry and irritated throat. A cough may also result from a cold or flu, asthma, smoking or other causes. There are various treatments for coughs, some from the pharmacy and some that you can make or try at home.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Try lozenges and fluids for a cough caused by a dry and irritated throat. Keep your environment smoke free, as even nonsmokers can experience irritation from cigarette smoke.

  2. 2

    Sit in a hot, steamy shower to treat a dry throat or dry cough. The steam will help soothe and hydrate your breathing passages.

  3. 3

    Purchase a cold-water humidifier for use in your bedroom at night. Coughs sometimes become worse when you lie down. If this is the case, a cold-water humidifier may help.

  4. 4

    Drink hot liquids for wet coughs that produce phlegm. Also, talk to your pharmacist about expectorants, which can help you bring up the phlegm.

Tips and warnings

  • Don't treat babies or young children with cough syrups unless prescribed by your doctor.
  • Clean your humidifier out after each use.
  • See your doctor if you have trouble breathing, become dehydrated or have a cough that lasts longer than two weeks.
  • None of these methods can cure a cold, infection or another cause for a cough. They merely address the coughing symptom.

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