Ways to Soothe Your Cough continued...
Avoid dirty air. You know smoke isn’t good for you, but it’s especially bad when you're sick. It can really irritate your cough. Don't smoke, and stay away from others who are smoking, too.
Rest. If you want to get rid of your cold and cough, you need to take it easy. Your body needs energy to fight off the virus. Push yourself too hard and it will just exhaust you and stress you out. That can make your cold, cough, and sore throat hang around longer.
Gargle with salt water. Does this traditional remedy really work? Studies haven't shown that it does, but lots of people swear by it. See if it helps you. Mix a teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and gargle. Do it several times a day.
Eat a frozen treat. Want to cool down a flaming sore throat? Numb the pain with Popsicles, sorbet, or ice cream, or suck on ice chips.
Use an over-the-counter painkiller. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen can all help with sore throat pain. Aspirin is fine for adults, but remember that it could be dangerous to children under age 18.
Try an nasal spray or rinse. Some throat sprays or rinses have a drug that helps soothe and numb the throat. They can give you temporary sore throat relief. Just don't let children use rinses or sprays unless a doctor says it's safe.
When to See a Doctor
You don't need medical care for the average cough or sore throat. You often just need to give your body time to recover. Most are caused by viruses, which antibiotics can’t treat.
However, some coughs and sore throats do need help from a doctor. You could be dealing with something more serious.
If you have a cough with any of these symptoms, see a doctor:
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing up blood, bloody mucus, or pink foamy mucus
- Coughing up green, tan, or yellow mucus
- Fever, chills, or chest pain when you breathe deeply
If you have a sore throat lasts longer than a week or a sore throat with any of these symptoms, see a doctor:
- Severe pain
- Trouble swallowing
- Fever over 100.4 F
- Swollen glands
- White patches on your throat or tonsils
These are signs that it might be a bacterial infection like strep throat, which can be treated with antibiotics. Or it could be another condition, like acid reflux, and you may need additional treatment.