How to Stop a Gagging Cough

By Brenna Davis

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.

Close-up of a young man sneezing into a tissue

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.

Woman taking her temperature

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.

Sick man drinking water

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.

Cough drop

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.

Woman taking pills

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.

Warning

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

References

About the Author

Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.

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