When the weather changes, we often sneeze or cough. The thing about coughing is that once it starts, it takes forever to stop. It can keep you up all night, make it difficult to speak and just leave you feeling annoyed. Whether it is dry cough or wet cough, doctors will suggest you to have cough syrups and other medicines. You can also try home remedies for wet cough, which is a type of cough that produces mucus or phlegm.
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What is wet cough?
A wet cough is often characterised by a sound or sensation of congestion in the chest or throat. Wet coughs are commonly associated with respiratory infections such as the common cold or bronchitis, and they help to clear excess mucus from the airways, says Dr Ravi Shekhar Jha, Director and Head of Department, Pulmonology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad.
Wet cough vs dry cough
A dry cough, also known as a non-productive cough, is different from a wet cough. In dry cough, mucus or phlegm does not get produced. It’s often characterised by a tickling or scratching sensation in the throat, and the cough itself does not bring up any secretions. Dry coughs can be caused by various factors, including irritants, allergies, or viral infections, and they are typically less effective in clearing the airways compared to wet coughs, which help to remove mucus and other substances from the respiratory system.
What makes wet cough worse
There are several factors and actions that can make a wet cough worse or exacerbate the symptoms. These include:-
Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke can irritate the airways and make a wet cough more severe, says the expert.
Exposure to allergens such as pollen, dust or mold can trigger or worsen a wet cough in people who have allergies.
3. Dry air
Breathing dry air can further irritate the throat and airways, but use a humidifier to help to alleviate this.
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4. Cold air
Inhaling cold air can constrict airways and increase coughing. Covering your mouth and nose in cold weather may help to some extent.
5. Respiratory irritants
Exposure to pollutants can affect your lungs, and so can strong odours or chemicals that can exacerbate a wet cough.
6. Not staying hydrated
Dehydration can thicken mucus, making it harder to clear from the airways, so drink water and healthy beverages.
Home remedies for wet cough
There are several natural ways to help alleviate the symptoms of a wet cough.
Drink plenty of fluids such as water, herbal teas or warm broth to keep your airways moist and help thin mucus, says Dr Jha.
Honey has natural antibacterial and soothing properties, so mixing it with warm water or herbal tea can help to relieve coughing.
3. Steam inhalation
It might seem a little suffocating, but inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water can help to loosen mucus and ease congestion.
4. Saltwater gargle
This is one of the most common and effective ways to stop coughing. Gargling with warm saltwater can reduce irritation while soothing your sore throat.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used in your favourite tea or as a throat-soothing remedy. You can also heat it, put a little salt to it and just keep it in mouth for some time.
Garlic has natural antibacterial properties, so chewing raw garlic or using it in cooking can help to boost the immune system.
7. Hot toddy
It is a warm beverage with honey, lemon and a small amount of whiskey or brandy. It can provide relief from cough symptoms, but should be used in moderation, warns the expert.
8. Eucalyptus oil
Adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of hot water and inhaling the steam can help to clear nasal passages and ease coughing.
9. Elevate your head
Sleeping with your head elevated can
make it easier to breathe at night and reduce postnasal drip, which is secretion from your nose that drains down into your throat. This whole process causes congestion and cough.
These home remedies can provide relief for mild cases of wet cough, but if your symptoms worsen, check with a doctor.