If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I've been suffering from a persistent dry cough for a while now. You also know that I've tried every possible remedy to get rid of it. Now I don't know if you've ever googled the words "how to get rid of your dry cough" but I can tell you that the Internet is full of BS theories. I've therefore decided to put a list of things/habits that I've been doing and that have been working for me.
1. Cough with your mouth closed
Coughing with your mouth closed isn't easy and will require practice, but it's the best thing you can do for your health. Here's a simplified explanation as to why you should be doing this: Coughing causes the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) in your airways which irritate your urge-to-cough receptors making you want to cough even more. Coughing further causes the reduction of oxygen levels in body cells and the brain. Coughing with your mouth closed, on the other hand, reduces the irritation of airways and increases oxygen levels in body cells and the brain. The result? Less coughing!
The reason why steaming is important is because it helps loosens mucus in the lungs so that it's easier to cough up. Just boil up a pot of water, drape a big towel over your head, and inhale the steam for about five to ten minutes. To make it even more effective, try boiling herbs with your water. Great herbs are: chamomile (and not the tea), lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus. Do this two or three times per day and especially before going to bed as it will help you relax.
3. Rub ointment on the soles of your feet
Now this might sound absolutely ridiculous, but it actually works wonders. I stumbled upon this trick while battling the worst coughing attacks imaginable. I gave it a try and within a couple of minutes I stopped coughing. So what exactly do you have to do? Take a steamy shower, rub ointment on the soles of your feet, and put on some warm socks. You can also apply some ointment on your chest, throat, and just right under your nose.
4. Stop using over-the-counter medication
I repeat -- stop using over-the-counter medication to treat your cough. Why? Because they are absolutely useless. According to a study published by Schroeder K. and Fahey T., "over-the-counter cough medicines do not appear more effective than placebo in relieving symptoms of acute cough." In other words, there is no evidence to prove their effectiveness. So stop wasting your money.
When your coughing, your body is giving you signals that things aren't right. Now I know you have all kinds of responsibilities and you can't just spend your days chilling on the couch. But please, do take some time to rest. And when I say rest, I don't mean binging on Netflix for hours. When you're sick, you need to rest your body and your mind. I understand that laying in bed doing nothing isn't very exciting, but your body will thank you. Trust me.
6. Stay hydrated
Drink plenty of water and plenty of herbal teas with honey. You're probably going to be peeing every minute of every day, but this step is extremely important as it helps break up mucus in your airways.
7. Get a humidifier
Humidifiers are life savers. Using humidifiers during a cold is extremely essential as they add moisture to the air and therefore help ease coughing and congestion. And if you're wondering what type of humidifier you should get, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a cool-mist one (as opposed to a warm-mist one). I mean, you probably don't want to turn your room into a tropical forest.
Follow these tips religiously for a couple of days and I promise you you'll feel so much better. And if the cough persists for longer than three weeks, check in with your doctor.