It’s that time of year. My older son and I are both home sick today with coughs. My son, the hypochondriac, is convinced we both have enterovirus 68.
Luckily, we’re not that sick, but coughs due to the common cold are hard to treat. They also tend to linger. Doctors have different advice on medications: You don’t want to suppress a cough that is productive, but you don’t want to be wracked with pain every time you cough either.
Here are a few ways to help soothe a cough naturally.
First, stay hydrated. An upper respiratory tract infection like a cold or flu causes post-nasal drip. Extra secretions trickle down the back of your throat, irritating it and sometimes causing a cough. Drinking plenty of fluids helps to thin out the mucus in your body, helping to alleviate that while keeping mucous membranes moist.
Warm drinks and lozenges soothe the back of the throat, reducing the cough reflex. Try warm tea with honey and natural lozenges in a sugar-free variety, if you can find them.
Hot showers and humidifiers can also help by loosening secretions in the nose. Make sure that your humidifier is clean, though, so you aren’t spreading more bacteria.
If you don’t want to take a hot shower yourself, sit in the bathroom with the door closed while your little one showers. You’ll get the same benefits.