How to deal with a dry cough

At some stage in our lives, everybody has been in the dismal situation of being kept up late at night with a dry cough. The issue becomes all the more trying when there are others in the house - suppressing a dry cough at 2AM through strained eyes so as not to wake anybody is just about the worst way to go about catching even one wink, let alone 40.

Naturally, if your cough persists for more than three weeks, or if you experience pain or breathlessness that is out of character, your mind will begin to run away with you and you may find yourself looking up answers to questions like ‘what you should do if you've been exposed to asbestos’. In this case, you should see a doctor.

Now, let’s look at how to deal with a dry cough, so that the next time you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep because of a scratchy throat, you know what to do.

Invest in a humidifier

Humidifiers are handy little machines that add moisture to the air. You can even purchase different scents. Home heating tends to dry out the air, especially when used at length during the colder winter months. Using a humidifier overnight is one way to restore the moisture in the air, which can prevent you from developing a dry cough.

Hot drinks and soups

A more direct way of introducing moist heat to your dry and scratchy throat is via hot drinks and soups. Not only will this alleviate symptoms, but the added hydration is a vital part of the fightback against the illness - dehydration is a common issue with people suffering from any sickness that requires bed rest, due to the associated immobility (the ideal scenario would of course involve persuading somebody to bring you hot drinks and soups throughout the day!).

Tip: add honey to your hot drinks. Honey has anti-inflammatory properties and can also break down mucus.

Gargle with salt water

This sounds disgusting but you don’t need much salt - around half a teaspoon mixed into a standard 8 ounce glass tumbler filled with water should suffice. Gargling for 30 seconds will assist in reducing any inflammation, promoting healing. Remember, never swallow salt water, always spit the liquid out when you are finished.

Add herbs to your diet

Certain herbs are known to possess anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the swelling in the throats and alleviate symptoms of a dry cough. These herbs include thyme, turmeric, peppermint, and garlic.

Another consideration over dry coughs is that you may be suffering from asthma. Again, if symptoms do not go away after three weeks, always seek medical assistance.

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