Whether it’s the remnants of a cold or the last lingering stage of that office bug, there are no two ways about it—a cough that won’t quit is just plain annoying. Chesty and loud or a scratchy and wheeze, nobody wants an impromptu bark to stay any longer than it takes to give you a Phoebe Buffay “sexy voice” for an hour or two. But as you likely already know, a cough can be a tricky beast to banish, and coughs have a knack for becoming a weird sort of habit if they stay around for too long. But rest assured, as we’ve got what you need.
To help you send that cough on its way, we’ve tapped health and wellness experts to discover all the insider tricks you need to regain the upper hand. From herbal teas to eucalyptus steams, this expert advice will teach you how to how to get rid of that annoying cough—fast.
Sleep It Off
Okay, so one early night isn’t going to see off a cough completely, but allowing your body enough time to rest and recuperate is the fast track to full health. “Getting plenty of rest will help your body recover more quickly. You may also find that your normal sleep pattern is interrupted if you’re up coughing for part of the night,” explains Kim Glass, GP at Bupa Health Clinics. “A cough is rarely a sign of something more serious, but I would recommend that you go and see your GP if your cough persists for more than a few weeks.”
Of course, drinking plenty of water is always a good idea, but never more so than when you’re trying to beat a cough, cold or bug. “If you’re suffering from a persistent cough, the most important thing is to stay hydrated—this will soothe your throat and help thin out any mucus,” confirms Glass. “Drink lots of water, and if you want something warm, fruit or herbal teas are a great option to keep your fluids up.”
Bring Out the Oregano
Seasoning always gets a thumbs-up from us, but according to nutritionist and metabolic balance coach Pippa Campbell, sprinkling the right herbs on your plate could help shift that cough. “Oregano is a common ingredient in Italian and Greek cuisine, and they have the right idea. Oregano, and its milder cousin, marjoram, are antiviral, antibacterial and antibiotic,” explains Campbell. “Its oil and leaves are used medicinally in treatments for coughs, fever, congestion, body aches and illness. Combined with basil, garlic, marjoram, thyme and rosemary, it creates a potent antiviral, antibacterial and antimicrobial blend.” Start adding it to your soup (or pizza) ASAP.
Hit the Counter
The pharmacy counter, that is—a trip to Space NK probably isn’t going help right now. While it’s true that antibiotics won’t see off a cough unless it’s caused by a bacterial infection (as opposed to a virus, which is more common and should pass in one to two weeks according to the NHS), Glass notes that over-the-counter remedies are definitely worth stocking up on if your cough is painful. It’s best to chat with a pharmacist about your symptoms so they can recommend the right cough medicine, lozenges or painkillers that’ll help to soothe and decongest.
Steam It Out
If you’ve got a chesty cough or chest infection, an old-fashioned steam could help decongest your airways and break up the mucus—while also doing wonders for your skin. We love a win-win. If it’s been a while since you last did one, here’s what to do: Pour hot water into a bowl, pop your face over the steam and use a small towel draped over the back of your head to keep the steam from escaping too quickly. Then just take a few deep breaths in and out. The NHS suggests adding a little menthol or eucalyptus oil to the water for added decongesting benefits.
Here’s hoping your cough will subside by Monday.