With the icy wintertime weather often comes that a nasty cough and sickly feeling. You know what I’m talking about. You wake up with a headache, likely a sinus headache from all the congestion and mucous buildup. It is that throbbing feeling on each side of your head, your temples, that just will not go away. Any added pressure is seemingly going to put you over the edge. You want no noise and minimal light. Your nose is half of the time stopped up, half of the time running, sometimes both simultaneously (I hate that!). But the worst thing about how you are feeling is that dreadful cough. You would like to cough that nasty gunk up and get it out of your chest, but the annoyance of a unproductive cough may just not be worth it. Each blow stings your throat, creates pressure in your chest, and makes your head hurt even worse than it already did when you woke up in the morning. The cold, bitter air adds no relief to the discomfort. Maybe you are not even running a fever, and your less than sensitive boss is just not going to let you stay home another day. You have an important meeting coming up. It is a test day. The kids must be somewhere. There are so many times that you just cannot afford to feel this terrible and keep coughing like crazy. So, what are you going to do?
There has got to be a way to get rid of a nasty cough during the winter. Good news for all of you, there are! There are many solutions to explore today for you to try as soon as possible. There is no cure for cold/flu, but there are ways to reduce the symptoms.
We should go ahead and get started. I know you are ready to start feeling better soon!
First, are you wondering why your cold and cough seems so much more prevalent in the winter? There are many explanations and controversies, but one reason is that people tend to spend more time indoors during the colder season. Huddled up in the same under-circulated air bundled up with multiple warm bodies is the perfect breeding ground for infection. Upon infection, because of the close-knit human contact during the winter, spreading the bacteria or virus happens easily, bouncing from one sore throat to the next. The infection response of the body is to pack full of that awful mucus and drain it all back out. Unfortunately, that power cough comes with an “under the weather” price. Let’s find ways to feel better and say goodbye to the uninvited hacker.
Six Winter Solutions for How to Get Rid of a Nasty Cough
Take Some Medicine to Make Coughing Easier (Expectorant Meds)
Of course, the body knows that the purpose of coughing is to get rid of the mucus and drainage. So, it is going to try to accomplish that task. Sometimes, though, you need to get some help from medicine. Expectorant medications are a branch of meds that make it easier to clear the sputum from the airways. Taking these will certainly ease your work and give some part-time relief. Common over the counter examples of these medicines includes Mucinex, Hytuss, and Robitussin. Check for the ingredient guaifenesin to confirm the medication is, in fact, an expectorant. Consider these the “anti-tussive”.
Tip: Eating grapes has been said to treat a cough as an expectorant medication would. If you are not a fan of taking medicine, try eating this better tasting and more natural fruit!
Take Some Medicine to Reduce the Urge to Cough (Cough Suppressant Meds)
Now we just discussed using expectorant medicines, but other times you just might need a break from coughing for a while. Cough suppressant medicines reduce the urge to cough. Perhaps you cannot sleep because you are waking yourself up coughing and hacking all night. Maybe you have a meeting or a conference call coming up and just really need to limit your coughing for a bit. These may be times to consider taking cough suppressants such as Delsym, Codeine, and Dimetapp. Check for the ingredient dextromethorphan (DM). Consider these the “antitussives”.
Tip: Take these meds before bed, or at a time you can just stay home and relax. They may make you drowsy, but also you want some cough relief to give your body some rest. Sleep is the best way to get your energy up to fight off your infection. Do not drive if you are going to take these medicines until you know for sure how your body reacts. Some people have adverse reactions to medication. If so, always consult a doctor or pharmacy.
Moisten and Warm Your Throat
Sucking on menthol cough drops or even just flavorful hard candy can work to soothe the throat by numbing and/or increasing moisture in the throat. Throat sprays like a Chloraseptic spray can help soothe and numb your throat as well. These can be bought at any drug store. Coughing hurts even worse when you have a dry and raw throat. Moistening it often helps reduce at least some of the pain caused by the coughing. Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids. Drink lots of water to flush your system. Juice can help replenish some much-needed vitamins and minerals. The acidity in orange juice may irritate your raw throat. Avoid citrus drinks if it is stinging. Try heating your drinks. Hot tea with a spoonful of honey can really increase the comfort. Even warm soup broth can feel nice and provide some nourishment that you need. Remember, it takes a lot of energy to fight off infection. Do not forget to fill your body with plenty of fuel.
Tip: Make your own natural cough relieving tea at home.
Boil some water. Add in fresh lemon juice, aloe juice, organic honey, and sliced ginger. When the mixture is warm and evenly dispensed, slowly sip on the tea throughout the day for relief. Other ingredients you might consider adding are licorice root, mullein herb, garlic, or apple cider vinegar.
Every mixture may not always taste awesome, but avoid adding lots of sugar. While you are sick. Try to avoid sugary or carbonated beverages. Avoid drinking copious amounts of alcohol.
Ice it Back Down
Next, you can go the opposite way. Sucking on ice, a popsicle, or another frozen treat can stimulate numbness. Just like icing down a sore ankle, ice down your sore throat to get some short-term relief. When your throat is numb, the urge to cough may reduce some as well.
Tip: Some say that dairy products increase mucus and coughing. Stay away from ice cream if you feel that it is worsening your cough. Drinking ice cold water can instead aid in hydration, and you’ll reap the benefits of the icing sensation.
Breathe in Steam
This goes back to the moisturizing principle. A dry and raw throat can feel the worst, especially with a rough cough. Get a vaporizer or a humidifier to place in your home to moisten the air around you. Another method that is sure to help is to take a hot and steamy bath or shower. The relaxing feeling of a hot shower is unmatched even when you are feeling well. Breathing in the steam can open your airways and ease your breathing. Try using a lavender body wash or soaking in Epsom salt during a hot bath. These can create an even more alleviating and comfortable experience to give you the relaxation you need to feel better.
Tip: Try essential oils. Essential oils are natural alternatives that have been around and used since the beginning of time to treat illness. Try these essential oils that have been said to treat cold symptoms and to cough: lemon, frankincense, lavender, peppermint, thieves oil, tea tree oil, oregano oil, eucalyptus oil, thyme, juniper berry, clove, cypress, hyssop, basil, and rosemary. Essential oils and aromatherapy can be applied some ways. They can be bought locally or in drug stores. Also, many people are now ambassadors of selling essential oils and other products that you might want.
It is very important to live clean (all the time, really), but especially when you are sick. This small section could really be an entire fix-all. There are so many critical ways to live a cleaner and healthier life that you can begin today. Starting right after a sickness is a great time to ensure a fresh wellbeing for you and your home.
Do not pollute your airways. Stay away from the smoke. When you have a bad cough, you do not need to add pollution to your already fighting lungs. Stay away from cigarette smoke (your own or secondhand), but also avoid other types of smog and air pollution as it will weaken your ability to get your airways back to optimal health. Using tobacco is only going to make you cough more and feel worse.
Sanitize. Disinfect and sanitize as thoroughly as possible. You can do this in some ways. After coughing and hacking all night in your bed, you need to wash your sheets and pillow cases when you get back well. Wash throw blankets. Disinfect the couch. Wipe down the dresser and cabinets where you laid your snotty tissues. Wash your hands. Disinfect the doorknobs. Anything that you may have shared your germs with, clean. Disinfect your steering wheel and knobs if you spent time driving and coughing in your car. Try your best to get rid of those pesky germs so that you will not be able to catch the disease from yourself again! Also, if others come into your home with sickness, sanitize after them. You can just never be too careful.
Throw away anything you have used that now has your germs. This may include your chopstick, toothbrush, makeup applicators, etc. Most of those things can be replaced for under $5.00. If it can be replaced for a minimal amount, just get rid of it. Do not risk give yourself those germs back. These moist places are heavy breeding grounds for bacteria.
Eat clean! What goes in your body is important? You want to fill yourself with the best possible options. Avoid processed foods! Having a healthy diet, taking vitamins, and drinking plenty of water is an easy way to stay at your optimal health and immunity. Leafy green veggies, fruits, and proteins are great sources of wellness. Avoid the sugary substances and fatty junk foods. They will not give your body the energy or substance it needs to fight infections. Sugar, starch, and dairy are mucus-producing foods. With a bad cough, you do not want to be ingesting food that is going to increase your sputum amount. Just as mentioned previously, try to add lemon, garlic, pepper, or ginger to your foods and drinks. These have awesome antioxidants and vitamins to cure your cough and sickness and get you back on track to feeling well.
Lower your stress level. The last way to live a cleaner and healthier life that is sure to help get rid of that nasty cough is to lower your stress level simply. It is very difficult to get better if you are on edge and constantly stressed out. Take a few days off work. Spend a few mornings staying in bed. Get your mom to watch the kids. Take a day for yourself just to get better. Stress lowers the body’s ability to fight infection. Have you ever noticed that when you are more stressed out, you get sick more? It’s true! Your body and mind need rest. Take a bubble bath. Give yourself a break. Your body will thank you.
Overall, there has been a plethora of ways discussed to get rid of a nasty cough. Try some out and get well soon!