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Q: What are remedies to treat a persistent cough from a cold? – E. G.

A: Coughs caused by the common cold usually go away in a few weeks. Chronic, persistent coughs may be caused by underlying medical problem such as allergies, asthma, or acid reflux — or by the medications you take. To lose those coughs, you need to treat the underlying problem. Talk to your doctor if your cough lasts longer than four weeks, or if you are coughing up blood or having other symptoms such as weight loss, chills, or fatigue.

If you believe your cough is related to a lingering cold, here are five tips that may help get rid of your cough:

Drink lots of water. Drinking fluids helps to thin out the mucus in postnasal drip. Drinking liquids also helps to keep mucous membranes moist. This is particularly helpful in winter, when houses tend to be dry, another cause of persistent cough.

Try lozenges and hot drinks. The lozenges numb the back of the throat, and that will decrease the cough reflex. Drinking warm tea with honey also can soothe the throat. There is some clinical evidence to support this remedy.

Take steamy showers; Use a humidifier.  A hot shower can help a cough by loosening secretions in the nose. This will also work if a cough is associated with allergies and asthma. Humidifiers may also help. In a dry home, nasal secretions (snot) can become dried out and uncomfortable (sometimes causing nosebleeds). Putting moisture back in the air can help your persistent cough. But be careful and make certain you clean your filter often so you do not get fungus and put that into the air you are breathing.

Remove perfumes and scented sprays.  Some people receive chronic sinus irritation, producing extra mucus that leads to chronic cough after smelling perfumes and scented sprays.

Take decongestants. These will relieve nasal congestion by shrinking swollen nasal tissue and reducing mucus production. They dry up mucus in the lungs and open up the airway passages.



Q&A: For A Cough That Won’t Go Away, The Best Remedy Is…?  was originally published on

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