If your airways are irritated by dust or smoke or blocked with mucus, the body's reflex action is to cough. The common cold, flu, and bronchitis can sometimes lead to a respiratory infection, resulting in a chesty cough. This means you cough up phlegm (thick mucus), which is quite different from a dry cough that feels like a persistent tickle in the throat. Most coughs clear up after a few days and are unlikely to last more than two weeks. Unless you feel very unwell, a cough is generally not cause for concern and will go away on its own.
Take a cough medicine containing an expectorant, such as guaifenesin. Expectorants help bring up phlegm to make coughing easier. Cough medicines may relieve other symptoms, such as a congested nose or fever. Follow the directions for use and take only the recommended dose.
Mix 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1 Tbs. honey, 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar and 2 Tbs. water. Take 3 tsp of the mixture. According to Bonnie K. McMillen, R.N, B.S.N., college health nurse at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, this natural remedy is suitable for all types of coughs and may relieve chest congestion and loosen phlegm.
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have had a chesty cough for more than two weeks after a viral infection, or if your cough is getting worse.
If you have a child with a chesty cough, take him to a paediatrician before giving him any cough medicine. Some medicines are not suitable for younger children. The paediatrician will be able to rule out a more serious respiratory infection, such as whooping cough, and tell you how to treat your child's cough.