Coughs have many different causes, such as allergies, smoking, illness, or dryness in the environment and weather changes. Productive coughs, which are typically caused by the flu or a cold, occur when one is coughing up mucus and phlegm. Dry coughs are often caused by virtually any other reason, and can be very hard to cure. Fortunately, there are some options for cough relief to try.
The first step to cough relief is to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. This can help treat illness and relieve a dry cough, and is important for the health of the entire body. In addition to drinking water, a hot beverage such as tea with honey can be a great way to treat a cough and relieve a sore throat. Honey is often recommended as a treatment for cough relief.
Steam and moist air can be a great option for relief of a dry cough. Standing over a pot of hot, steaming water can help to relieve a cough; be careful not to get too close to boiling water, though. Standing in a hot shower can have a similar effect. At night, setting up a humidifier near where one sleeps can be excellent cough relief, because the humidifier can help to eliminate dry air that irritates the throat.
Of course, there are over-the-counter medications available for cough relief as well. These may be intended as cough suppressants, which can be helpful in allowing one to get better sleep at night. Others are expectorants, which are intended to make coughs more productive, and therefore encourage one to get better from a cold or the flu. Be sure to always follow the directions carefully on the package, as some cough medications can cause drowsiness, and should not be taken during the day, unless one is staying in bed. If a cough is caused by allergies, an allergy medication may be helpful as well.
If a cough is accompanied by a fever, or persists for more than a few weeks, it might be a good idea to call a doctor. He or she might recommend antibiotics or other treatments for any underlying illness that could be causing the cough. Of course, quitting smoking is very important both for cough relief and for the overall health. Again, if cough persists for a period of time even after quitting smoking, it is a good idea to see a doctor and rule out any serious complications.