Cough Remedy: 6 Types and Treatment in-home- including Over the counter medicines

Cough remedy depends on the type of cough your body expulse.

It is air coming out of the lungs to clear any foreign particles, fluids, irritants, or microbes. 

There are three phases to impulse a cough. 

  1. When any gases or air enter the lungs, also called inhalation. 
  2. When the gases or air moves from the lungs out of the airways against closed vocal cords, and
  3. Strong air release from the lungs with opened vocal cords, also called exhalation

Coughing can be a defensive reflex as it enhances the withdrawal of any harmful microorganisms, particulates, and secretions out of your lungs and throat. 

However, a prolonged cough can be a sign of any disease. The most common cause is an infectious disease like a common cold. 

If the cough is prolonged and has lasted more than a week or two, it is necessary to visit a doctor. 

Here, in this article, let us understand the types of cough and its remedy to look for either in-home or over-the-counter medicines. 

Types of Coughs: 


It is a cough with a dry nature that occurs without any mucus or phlegm and is non-productive, expelling the lungs. 

The cause of a dry cough can be related to any irritations, smoke, allergies, acid refluxes, or inflammation. In some cases, there’s no apparent cause. 

Dry cough also occurs due to other health conditions such as asthma and GERD. 

Let us look at some of the primary causes of dry cough. 

  • Irritation: Any foreign body irritates the throat, lungs, and nose. It is triggered by pollutants, inhaling dust, or any chemical gas in the air to eject the lungs’ irritants with a dry-sounding cough reflex.
  • InflammationMicroorganisms like bacteria or viruses cause the infection, with the throat and lungs inflamed. Likewise, asthma triggers can also cause inflamed lungs and causing a dry cough. The other causes are environmental conditions (too dry or cool air) and physical strain. 
  • Dry Respiratory Tissues: The tissues (ciliated pseudostratified columnar epithelial tissue) of the respiratory tract, usually the bronchioles, bronchi, trachea, and nasal cavity, is irritated due to environmental conditions, cigarette smoke, dehydration, or low mucus secretion. This irritation can trigger the cough reflex to produce a no-productive cough. 

Home Remedy for dry cough 


Honey has anti-bacterial properties. It helps to alleviate the irritation, shortens the cough length, and helps to coat the throat. To prepare honey mixed with juice, add honey to warm water or tea and lemon juices to soothe the congestion.



Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties. It boosts immunity and helps to relieve pain and discomfort. To use ginger as a remedial purpose, one can add in tea or munch slices to alleviate dry cough.



It is the standard and simplest yet effective remedy to relieve a dry cough. Adding an inch of table salt in warm or lukewarm water, stir it, and gargle at least 3-4 times every day until any improvement signs. Salt is an effective treatment as it also reduces phlegm and mucus in the throat to relieve cough.



Drinking milk with added one teaspoon of turmeric helps to relieve dry cough. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin that has anti-bacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties.



Staying hydrated is vital in cough or cold. The best recommendation is to drink water at room temperature, which improves dry cough, and also drinking hot drinks like herbal tea can be beneficial to get rid of the annoying dry cough.

Over-the-counter (OTCs) medicines for dry cough 


The suppressants are antihistamines, dextromethorphan, pholcodine. It is generally prescribed for dry cough as it helps to relieve the brain cough reflex.


It is a productive cough because they produce mucus. 

The common causes of excess mucus are the common cold, flu, allergies, pneumonia, and chest congestion. 

These coughs are due to the body’s attempt to expel the lungs’ mucus and usually abnormal than the average mucus production. 

Home Remedy for wet cough 


As for the dry cough, one tablespoon of honey before bedtime can be a good idea. However, raw honey is not advisable for children under the age of 1-2 years old. It can produce a toxin by a bacterium Clostridium botulin, thereby causing a fatal illness called Botulism.


Taking a steamy shower for five minutes can help your upper airways moisten and break the mucus to crumble in the chest. 


It can help by preventing dryness in the throat by moistening the air allowing you to breathe easier. Humidifier therapy also allows for loosening congestion and enhances sleep at night, especially for infants suffering from wet cough.


Ginger tea helps to soothe the inflammation in the throat, as it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
It also helps in hydration. Drinking warm water without ginger is also essential to keep the body hydrated.

Over-the-counter (OTCs) medicines for a wet cough remedy


The most common over-the-counter medicines prescribed by a physician or recommended by a pharmacist are expectorants.
Some of these are guaifenesin, with generic names like Robitussin Chest Congestion, Mucinex.

The expectorants help loosen and reduce the lungs’ mucus drainage and moisten the irritated respiratory tract. 

Sometimes ibuprofen or Tylenol is advised if there is a body ache or discomfort in the chest due to cough.


This type of cough produces a barking sound like a seal, caused due to inflamed upper airways surrounding the larynx (voice box). 

Barking cough is often associated with a croup cough, a viral infection that obstructs breathing and causes a barking sound.

The signs and symptoms are swelling around the larynx, bronchi, and trachea (windpipe). 

Sometimes the cough is accompanied by abnormal breathing sounds and hoarseness and develops a severe cough. 

Other causes of the barking cough are an inhaled foreign object, epiglottis infection, or choking. 

Home Remedy for a Barking cough 


Proper rest is essential to fight the infection. 


Crying makes breathing difficult. If your infant is experiencing the barking cough signs or symptoms, make sure you make him/her calm by reading his favorite storybook or engaging in a quiet game. 


Fluids can be a soothing soup. And encourage yourself to keep yourself hydrated by drinking enough water good at room temperature. 

Humidifiers can help breathe more comfortably, or if the air is chilly outside, it can also breathe cool air. 

Over-the-counter (OTCs) medicines for a Barking cough remedy


If the barking cough induces fever or ache, it is advisable to take OTCs medicines like Acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Most of the time, non-prescribed medicines cannot aid soothe a barking cough, and it depends on the duration of the sickness. 

If it is more than a week or two, and evident symptoms like a change of voice, difficulty breathing, the pale or blue color of the lips, nail, and shaking chills show, It is highly crucial to visit your physician. 

Whooping Cough

It is known as pertussis, a bacterial infection caused by Bordetella pertussis.

Whooping cough is a contagious disease; the lungs expel much oxygen, that the symptoms are intense bursts that produce a whopping sound as you gasp for air. 

Other causes of whooping cough are pneumonia, emphysema, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases, also called COPD, tuberculosis, and severe asthma attacks.  

It is a contagious disease as it is transmissible from a person to another either by talking or sneezing. 

Vaccination can prevent this cough condition. Children are at high risk of the infection, so to prevent it, a standard vaccine course is advisable to administer.

Home Remedy for a Whopping cough 


Water, juice, and soups are good options.


A calm, peaceful bedroom with lights off may help you ease and relax better.


 Avoid smoking and make the air fresh by lessening any other smoke; if you use traditional wood cooking methods, refrain yourself from the kitchen areas.


If you are around others, make sure you wear a mask and wash your hands frequently.

Over-the-counter (OTCs) medicines for a Whopping Cough

If the cough condition is adverse and persists for more than a week with symptoms like

  • cough with thick phlegm
  • fatigue, several coughing up to 1 min
  •  vomiting

Visit your doctor’s clinic to seek a proper diagnosis for prescribed medicines. 

If the situation is mild-fever and not yet severe, consider taking antibiotics like azithromycin, but not to the continued extent of more than three to four tablets a day. Suitable to take for a short term of one pill each day, for four-five days.

Phlegmy Coughs 

Phlegm is a mucus embedded with microbes, foreign particles, and immune system cells produced in the lungs and the lower respiratory tract. 

A prevalent cause of phlegmy coughs is an inflammation of the bronchial tube lining, which carry air to and from the lungs, called Bronchitis. 

The mucus secreted in the nose or sinuses are thinner and primarily composed of water. However, phlegm is thicker. 

There are six appearances (color) of phlegm that can indicate sickness or any health conditions. 

  • White indicates a sign of nasal congestion and usually is no matter of alarm. 
  • Black likely means a fungal infection, notably for people with weaker immune systems. It results from particulates in your lungs, either from coal dust or smoke.  
  • Brown comes from old blood and is a forewarning indication because it flags prior bleeding. 
  • Pink or Red comes from fresh blood and is a severe condition. It can indicate bleeding in the respiratory tract. 
  • Yellow or green usually indicates a viral or bacterial infection. The color comes from white blood cells, an implication that your body is battling off other severe illnesses.

Home Remedy for Phlegmy Coughs


Drinking sufficient fluids can help expel the thick phlegm thinning it from the respiratory tract.

Warm liquids can be warm waterdecaffeinated teaginger teaherbal tea


Some of the essential oils improve to loosen the mucus and improves breathing in the chest.

It may also prevent the germination of bacteria affecting the respiratory tract.

Essential Oils should not take it internally. It is applied in a homemade vapor rub with 12 drops of one or more essential oils (written below) by mixing a portion of coconut oil.

Useful essential oils ready for buying online include:

It is crucial to test for any skin irritation before applying the essential oils; to be instated using a small amount of oil initially to a one-inch patch of skin on the inner arm to look for any reaction.

If no signs, the essential oils are suitable to be administered to release from the thickened phlegm

Over-the-counter (OTCs) medicines for Phlegmy Coughs 


Nasal decongestants (search for decongestants on amazon) can be used as over-the-counter to relieve a phlegmy cough.

Acetylcysteine, also known as N-acetylcysteine, helps to loosen the thick phlegm in the airways and improve the cough’s severity.

study suggests that phlegmy coughs can soothe by taking 600mg of Acetylcysteine if there is no obstruction of airways present; however, individuals from an obstructed airway can take up to 1200 mg daily.

N-acetylcysteine products are available for purchase online.

Severe Coughs

A persistent cough that lasts more than seven weeks is health risky and can signify serious problems requiring immediate medical attention. 

At this time of pandemic crisis due to the COVID-19, cough can indicate the life-taking viral infection and is super necessary to visit a doctor, but with the utmost care, like wearing masks and carrying a hand sanitizer to use frequently. 

As most coughs are contagious, severe coughs can be even more fatal to many individuals causing many healthy people to victims of health illness. 

Based on the five coughs that we understood above, some coughs signifies severe problems like 

  • Difficulty in breathing. 
  • High or prolonged fever. 
  • Hoarseness and change of voice. 
  • Wheezing or whooping sounds. 
  • Red or pink phlegm. 
  • Bluish or pale fingernails, skin from oxygen deficiency (cyanosis)

Some coughs are accompanied by an existing health condition like pneumonia, upper respiratory tract infections, tuberculosis, and in this type of situation, visiting a doctor is very important. 

Understanding and knowing when a cough is severe can revive you to evade a tragic situation in which you avoid the manifestations of a severe illness.

Also Read:

Hypertension is a silent killer: 6 Best remedies to control high blood pressure.

5 lifestyle habits that cause stress

The two significant ways you can improve Acid Reflux


Cough, as in overall, results for a good cause. The main reason that the cough reflex triggers is to expel any irritants present in the airways, to allow us to breathe, and exchange Oxygen and Carbon-dioxide efficiently. 

One of the significant causes of coughing or even sometimes, prolonged coughing is heavy smoking nicotine. 

It degrades the tissues of the lungs and is one of the primary reasons for the cancer cause. 

Hence, it is essential and necessary to quit smoking, for those who find fancy in smoking, limit the number of cigarettes for those chain smokers, and eventually stopped for good. 

The home remedies as you read above help you be comfortable, and in some cases, like mild cough, it is beneficial, and treatment is effective. 

But medications like the over-the-counters are useful to be taken not more than five times. If the cough condition is not fine within that time, please visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis to make sure your lungs get the oxygenated air. 

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