A man coughing.

Self-Care for Cough

At one point or another we’ve all suffered from a stubborn cough. Typically they come on during periods of sickness or when the humidity in the air is not normal. If left untreated cough can result in dry or sore throat, a hoarse voice, problems breathing deeply, interrupted sleep, and more. So what are some things you can do for yourself if you have a stubborn cough?

The first thing to determine is the type of cough you have. Coughs can be wet or dry, and thick or thin. A wet cough is a cough that is from something caught in the throat or chest – typically phlegm from being sick – and the body is trying to dislodge it. A dry cough is when the thoat is irritated, possibly sore, and the body is coughing because the passage of air through the throat itches. A thick cough is loud and exuberant – whatever the irritating factor causing the cough is, there is a lot of it. And a thin cough is quiet or mild, for when there is not a lot of irritation to cause the cough but it’s just enough to linger on. Someone who treats cough can tell these types apart by their sound. But because we’re talking about things you can do for yourself, I’m going to assume you can figure out what type of cough you have by thinking about how it developed and how your throat & chest feel when you cough.

The best treatment you can do for a cough is knowing what food to eat to aid what the body is trying to do on it’s own. Here are some different foods and how they help the body deal with cough:

  • Cherries contain compounds that suppress all types of cough, and can be very good for dry coughs. In ages past cherries were the main component of cough medicines and is why so many cough treatments today are cherry flavored.
  • Oranges are good to help break up stuck phlegm in the throat or chest. Navel oranges are best but clementines will also work. These are best for wet, thick coughs.
  • Apples are good to help moisten the throat and move fluid that’s a little sluggish. They are best for coughs that are thin, and can be either wet or dry.
  • Honey is good to moisten the throat and will treat dry coughs well, but don’t give honey to anyone under 6-12 months of age.

For wet & phlegmy coughs you can also do some self-massage to help break up phlegm in the chest. Form your hand into a cup and strike it against your chest and upper shoulders. A partner can help you by striking your mid-back area where you can’t reach. This type of percussion against the body helps to break up phlegm and get it moving.

Can’t tell what kind of cough you have, or need more care? Schedule your consultation or massage today.