How to Get Rid of Cough in 5 Minutes

The Hyfe Mind


February 15, 2021
CoughPro is not a medical product. It is a wellness app intended only for users to obtain a better understanding of their cough. It is not intended to diagnose, monitor, or treat any illness.

We at Hyfe, Inc., are a company devoted to working on tools to better understand the importance of cough. It is Hyfe’s intention in the future to seek regulatory approval for medical products that analyze cough in order that they may be used to diagnose, monitor, and facilitate better treatment of respiratory illnesses.

A woman holding her hand in front of her face, symbolizing stopping a cough
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A persistent cough is not only incredibly annoying but can also seriously affect your day-to-day life. While coughing is a natural and healthy reaction, too much of it causes such discomfort that you find yourself trying any remedy you can and searching for how to get rid of a cough in five minutes or less.

Fortunately, there are multiple remedies you can try to get quick relief. Persistent or chronic cough usually has an underlying cause, so to get rid of cough completely, you'll need to treat that cause. Until you do that, here's a list of cough remedies supported by evidence and tested by coughers all around the world.

Cough Hacks: How to Find Relief

1. Gargle with Saltwater to Soothe Your Throat

A woman holding a cup and gargling saltwater

When you were growing up, did you ever have someone recommend that you gargle saltwater for your cough? On the surface, this seems like a silly treatment for illness. After all, we have medications and therapies that are supposed to help clear up coughs in a matter of days.

As it turns out, gargling salt water may be an excellent way to get rid of a cough. In a small study from 2019, researchers found that study participants benefited greatly from saltwater treatments compared to over-the-counter medication. You should note, however, that these results are preliminary.

If you're wondering how to stop a tickly cough instantly, gargling lukewarm saltwater four times a day is especially helpful with this type of cough. While coughs stem from various causes, they are often the result of airway inflammation caused by bacteria and viruses. Therefore, saltwater helps eliminate coughs by soothing these inflamed areas, as well as the itch you feel in your throat, and returning you to baseline.

How to get rid of a cough in 5 minutes with saltwater: For every 8 oz. (250 mL) of warm water, thoroughly mix in a half-teaspoon of salt.

2. Drink Lots of Water

Water washes down the mucus in your throat and makes your cough more productive. Fluids can help you eliminate the nasty mucus and phlegm associated with coughing while also soothing the irritating sensation in your throat. Phlegm can be clear, yellow-green, or brown, but thicker does not always mean sicker. It does, however, suggest that you increase your fluid intake to help thin mucus and make it easier to expel.

While water works just fine, taking in other types of cough remedies and fluids can also help:

  • Hot soups feel great when dealing with a sore throat and a nagging cough. There are numerous soup options available depending on where you are in the world. In the United States, chicken noodle soup takes the crown as the most popular soup for recovery from a cold.
  • Herbal and lemon teas are great choices as they are excellent antioxidants and vitamin C sources. For example, you can use ginger and drink ginger tea which is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Staying hydrated is always a good idea, not just when you're feeling under the weather. Our bodies need lots of fluids to complete daily maintenance tasks which keep us healthy.

3. Perform Breathing Exercises

Many breathing techniques (pursed-lips breathing, for example) benefit people with respiratory conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, even if one has a cough without any underlying chronic illness, one can also use these techniques to manage cough symptoms.

Depending on the nature of the cough, other exercises that may be appropriate include controlled coughing and diaphragmatic breathing. You should always check with a qualified healthcare professional before trialing any new treatment or exercise plan.

Tips to get rid of a cough with breathing exercises: For the pursed-lip breathing technique, take a long, deep breath through your nose while counting to two, then gently exhale with pursed lips* while counting to four.

*Pretend you're about to whistle to purse your lips effectively.

4. Flush Your Nose with Water

By rinsing your nose, it clears your nasal passage from debris, mucus, and allergens, which could be the irritants inducing your cough.

Tips to get rid of a cough by flushing your nose with water: Try nasal irrigation or a saline spray or pour salt water into one nostril and let it trickle out of the other with your head tilted over a sink. You can use a neti pot, nasal cup, or bulb syringe.

5. Honey

Honey has anti-inflammatory qualities that can aid with throat inflammation. It can also assist in the breakdown of mucus and the relief of sore throats.

Honey possesses impressive immune-boosting properties. Research also indicates that it displays notable antiviral effects, indicating its potential medicinal significance. When it comes to reducing coughing, especially in children, honey is just as effective, if not more so, than cough syrups1.

Due to botulism risks, you should not give honey to children under the age of one year.

Tips to get rid of a cough using honey: Try mixing a teaspoon of honey with a cup of warm milk, warm water, or herbal tea.

6. Invest in an Air Humidifier

An air purifier in focus with a woman and a cat sitting on the floor in the background

Dry air irritates the respiratory system. For this reason, investing in a humidifier is an excellent choice. This is especially true during the evenings, as humidifiers can keep the air moist and prevent your respiratory system from drying out while you sleep.

While humidifiers may be an excellent option for many individuals, we must back our recommendations with research when possible. In 2017, a study found a slight improvement in common cold symptoms with a humidifier. The study found that humidifiers did not cause harm, but they also provided no benefit to study participants.

However, studies are not always the most important consideration. If a person firmly believes that a humidifier will help with their cough and they like the feeling it provides, they should use one! There is no harm in using a humidifier when properly maintained, and the power of belief should not be understated.

It is also vital to say that whoever uses a humidifier must clean its filters frequently (per instructions) and replace its filters regularly (every three months in general or every two months if used every day). If not, the humidifier might cause allergies or even lung infections!

Tips to get rid of a cough using a humidifier: Many people enjoy the effect of adding a couple of drops of essential oil to their humidifier. A bit of eucalyptus, rosemary, or mint essential oil can provide a soothing and anti-inflammatory effect.

7. Get Rid of Cough by Breathing Clean, Fresh Air

Car exhaust, cigarette smoke, and even perfume may lead to coughing. In addition, any tiny particles present in dirty air can irritate the throat and lungs. Not to mention, prolonged exposure to impure air may also lead to devastating diagnoses such as lung cancer and COPD.

As much as you can, stick to areas of fresh air that promote lung health. Walking in the woods is a great way to get some exercise and ensure that you're taking in high-quality, oxygen-rich air.

Tips to get rid of a cough by avoiding dirty air:

  • Wear a mask when outside of the home.
  • Avoid cigarette smoke.
  • Purchase an air purifier.

What Can I Do to Get Rid of My Cough?

Coughing that won't go away can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, but one can treat it at home in certain circumstances. 

If your symptoms worsen, don't be reluctant to seek treatment from a healthcare professional, whether it's medicine or anything else. 

Medical treatment options from a nearby drugstore may include:

  • Expectorants: Cough medications containing an expectorant, such as guaifenesin, function by removing the phlegm and other secretions produced by a productive cough, allowing you to breathe more easily. Wet coughs are better treated with expectorants.
    • Peppermint, ivy leaf, honey, warm moist air, or drinks are some natural expectorants if you don't feel like walking to the medicine store. Most importantly, remember that an expectorant won't cure the infection that's causing your symptoms, but it can help you sleep better.
  • Cough suppressants (antitussives) work by inhibiting the cough reflex. This is effective for severe dry coughs that keep you up at night.
  • Decongestants
  • Cough drops can also aid with a sore throat and relieve a cough.

It's advisable to visit your doctor as soon as possible if you have a persistent cough that's accompanied by other symptoms. Talk to a medical expert if it interferes with your ability to work normally, causes weariness, or keeps you awake at night.

What Can I Do to Keep Track of My Cough?

Why should you keep track of your cough? A cough is one of the first signs of disease. Therefore, having a way to keep on top of any changes when you cough can be critical, especially with the lingering threat of COVID-19 plaguing our world! 

  1. Cohen, H. A., Rozen, J., Kristal, H., Laks, Y., Berkovitch, M., Uziel, Y., Kozer, E., Pomeranz, A., & Efrat, H. (2012). Effect of Honey on Nocturnal Cough and Sleep Quality: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. Pediatrics, 130(3), 465–471. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2011-3075[]

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