How to Stop a Gagging Cough

A gagging cough can interfere with daily activities including sleeping, talking and eating. It can also be very frightening to cough so hard you gag. Numerous conditions, such as bronchitis, the common cold, the flu and allergies, can cause a gagging cough. In most cases, however, gagging is simply the result of excessive coughing and not indicative of an underlying problem.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Contact a general practice physician if your cough has lasted for more than seven days or if you have a fever above 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Your cough may be caused by an infection or other illness requiring medical treatment. Your doctor will examine you to determine if the cough is caused by something serious and may prescribe medication to alleviate your symptoms and clear up any infection.

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Install a humidifier in your bedroom at night and drink lots of water. Dehydration can make a cough worse, and coughing frequently causes a dry throat. If your throat is dry, you may cough and gag more. The humidifier will provide your body and mucous membranes with added moisture that will help you heal more rapidly while you sleep 4.

Suck on sugar-free hard candy or cough drops during the day. Peppermints and cough drops containing menthol are especially effective at soothing a cough. By coughing less, you are less likely to dry out your throat.

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Take medication containing guaifenesin, which helps to break up mucus. Excess mucus buildup is a common cause of excessive coughing, and guaifenesin will help to make coughs more productive and less dry and painful. If your throat is scratchy or tickly and you have pain in your sinuses, take a decongestant, which may also help eliminate coughing.


Never give hard candy to children under 5. Contact a pediatrician prior to giving your child over-the-counter cough medicine and decongestants.