How to Get Rid of a Dry Cough Naturally
**You can get rid of a dry cough naturally, particularly when a dry throat stems from a common cold or allergies.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
** A dry cough may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, so it may return until treated for the medical condition. Women who are pregnant or nursing may benefit from the home treatments, which facilitate body’s own healing mechanisms, to naturally ease the dry cough.
Drink more water 1. A dry cough indicates a dry throat 3. The MayoClinic.com recommends drinking eight 8-oz 1. glasses of water a day for optimum health. When you have a dry cough, your body requires more water, and drinking the water lubricates and soothes the throat. Drink about two glasses more than your usual daily water intake until symptoms subside, and sip water throughout the day for instant relief. Adjust your water intake as needed.
Dry Throat Remedies
Although alternative medicine practitioners recommend using eucalyptus oil for treating upper respiratory symptoms, the remedy may cause unintended side effects in some people 2. According to Aetna inteliHealth, a Harvard Medical School publication, eucalyptus oil may cause a change in voice or hoarseness and cause vocal cord dysfunction in rare cases 2. Always talk to your doctor before using eucalyptus oil if you are pregnant or nursing 2.
Use a humidifier in the home or office to add moisture in the air you breathe. The dry, indoor heat during the winter months can cause a dry cough or make a dry cough worse. Add a vapor remedy to the humidifier to increase the action of the steam.
How to Lubricate the Throat
Lubricate the throat by eating candy or using cough drops. Candy, cough drops, lounges, and even chewing gum, help relieve a dry cough. Eating foods increases saliva production, but production decreases after swallowing food. When chewing on or sucking on foods that remain in the mouth, such as when sucking on a cough drop, saliva production remains constant. The sustained release of saliva lubricates the oral cavity and throat naturally. The Centers for Disease control recommends using cough drops to relieve a dry cough for persons over 4 years of age.
Apply a warm compress on the neck and upper chest. Sometimes a dry cough causes a scratchy feeling in the throat and upper chest. Muscles in the throat and chest tighten and restrict when a constant dry cough persists. A warm, moist heat relaxes sore muscles and opens mucous membranes. A warm compress is a natural alternative for women who are pregnant or nursing and cannot use eucalyptus oil 2.
Add foods and drinks to your diet that relieve dry cough symptoms, such as hot soups and tea. The steam from the soup and tea help open the upper respiratory membranes, so the throat can get enough mucous needed for optimal lubrication. Eat soup as a meal, snack or an appetizer, and drink warm tea throughout the day. An age-old remedy for a dry cough, also recommended in “The Doctor’s Book of Home Remedies,” uses honey for coating and protecting the throat 4. Add 1 to 2 tbsp. of honey into a cup of hot tea to maximize the benefits of hot tea.
Add lemon and honey to hot tea. Lemon may sting the throat in some people, but lemon also has antibacterial properties that can fight the common cold and pathogens caused by allergies.
Always talk to your doctor before using any home treatment for a medical condition, especially if you are pregnant or nursing.
Dry Throat Remedies
How to Lubricate the Throat
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Peppermint Oil Vs. Peppermint Extract
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- MayoClinic.com: Water: How much should you drink every day?
- Aetna InteliHeath:Eucalyptus Oil
- CDC.gov: Treat Dry Cough
- "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies"
- Sylvester DC, Karkos PD, Vaughan C, et al. Chronic cough, reflux, postnasal drip syndrome, and the otolaryngologist. Int J Otolaryngol. 2012;2012:564852. doi:10.1155/2012/564852
- Morice A, McGarvey L, Pavord I. Recommendations for the management of cough in adults.Thorax. 2006 Sep; 61(Suppl 1): i1–i24. doi:10.1136/thx.2006.065144
- Harle ASM, Blackhall FH, Molassiotis A, et al. Cough in Patients With Lung Cancer: A Longitudinal Observational Study of Characterization and Clinical Associations. Chest. 2019;155(1):103-113. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2018.10.003
- Bronchiectasis. Breathe (Sheff). 2018;14(1):73-80. doi:10.1183/20734735.ELF141
- Goegebuer T, Nackaerts K, Himpe U, Verbeken E, Lagrou K. Coccidioidomycosis: an unexpected diagnosis in a patient with persistent cough. Acta Clin Belg. 2009;64(3):235-8. doi:10.1179/acb.2009.042
- Ryan P, Rehman S, Prince S. Acute tongue swelling, the only initial manifestation of carotid artery dissection: a case report with differentiation of clinical picture. Ann Vasc Surg. 2015;29(2):365.e17-8. doi:10.1016/j.avsg.2014.09.029
- Lokker N, Sanders L, Perrin EM, et al. Parental misinterpretations of over-the-counter pediatric cough and cold medication labels. Pediatrics. 2009;123(6):1464-71. doi:10.1542/peds.2008-0854
- Burki, T. A Constant Chorus of Coughs. Lancet Respiratory Medicine. 2015. 3(6):434.
- National Institutes of Health. Medline Plus. Cough. Updated 02/07/18.
- Satia, I., Badri, H., Al-Sheklly, B., Smith, J., and A. Woodcock. Towards Understanding and Managing Chronic Cough. Clinical Medicine. 2016. 16(Suppl 6):s92-297.
- Soni, R., Ebersole, B., and N. Jamal. Treatment of Chronic Cough. Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. 2017. 156(1):103-108.
Cheryl Myers has has a master's degree from Saint Leo University and currently writes for several publications including Fit Pregnancy, Guideposts and Parent's Magazine.