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How to Stop a Coughing Fit

Marion Sereti


January 31, 2022
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.

Coughing is a response that occurs when the body detects an irritating material in the lungs or airways. Two or three coughs are normal depending on the situation, but a coughing fit indicates a more significant underlying condition. In this article, you will learn how to stop a coughing fit including what causes a coughing fit, when you should visit a doctor, and how to prevent it.

Many factors can cause a cough, most of which are not a cause for alarm. For instance, a coughing fit might appear abruptly and a lingering cough remains for a few weeks (acute cough), or it can last more than eight weeks (chronic cough). Some coughing fits, also known as paroxysmal coughing, are intense and frequent, making breathing difficult.

Causes of a Coughing Fit

A Sick Man Covering His Mouth

A coughing fit can point to one of the many possible diseases caused by viruses or bacteria. Some of the causes of a coughing fit include:

  • Obstructed airway
  • Common colds (viral respiratory infection)
  • Allergies
  • Croup (a viral illness that is common in young children)
  • Influenza (a virus that causes illness)
  • Pneumonia
  • Tuberculosis, a bacterial illness of the lungs that can spread to other organs if left untreated
  • Whooping cough (pertussis)
  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a disorder in which acid from your stomach travels up your esophagus, into your throat, and occasionally into your lungs
  • Smoking

Coughing fits may indicate a serious or life-threatening condition, with the few notable ones being:

When to See a Doctor

Seek medical help right away if your cough is undetected, persistent, recurrent, or causes you concern. 

Always seek immediate medical attention if you encounter the symptoms listed below. Depending on the ferocity of the coughing fit, the following can be triggered;

  • Vomiting
  • Choking
  • Light-headedness/loss of consciousness
  • Muscle soreness
  • Trouble breathing or speaking 
  • Chest pain
  • A racing heart and/or grunting noises with each breath
  • Coughing up a lot of bloody phlegm
  • Chills with a high temperature
  • Coughing fits can get so intense that you vomit and your lips turn blue from a lack of oxygen in severe cases

Also, seek medical help if you have an existing respiratory condition and your coughing fits have worsened. Once your doctor has determined the cause, they will give treatment as appropriate.

How to Stop a Coughing fit - Medical Treatments and Home Remedies

Medical Treatments

Orange and White Bottles on White Table

Depending on the reason, intensity, and duration of your coughing fits symptoms, your doctor may give the following, as appropriate:

  • Antibiotics - to aid your immune system in fighting infectious bacteria.
  • Antihistamines - to alleviate allergy symptoms that can aggravate coughing, such as congestion,
  • Decongestants - to reduce mucus buildup, coughing, and other symptoms
  • Antacids for GERD symptoms
  • Breathing exercises as directed by your respiratory therapist for illnesses like bronchitis
  • And less typically, oxygen therapy

Home Remedies

Additionally, you can try the following treatments at home, as listed below, to help with the symptoms:

  • If you have a bacterial infection, isolate yourself.
  • Consume enough water: This will keep your mucus thin and easy to clear hence minimizing coughing.
  • Over-the-counter drugs: You can buy non-prescription medications to help clear mucus (expectorants) and control the cough reflex (antitussives). These are especially beneficial for providing relief at night.
  • Honey: A teaspoon of honey can help relax a cough and relieve aggravation. Add raw honey to your tea or take it by itself. It's a natural cough suppressant that could aid a coughing child's sleep, but don’t give honey to children under the age of one year.
  • A humidifier gives moisture to the air, but it must only use sterile water to avoid recirculating bacteria.
  • Avoid irritants. Close the windows and keep pets out of your bedroom to create a haven. Another option is to use an air purifier.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking is a severe irritant and destroyer of the lower respiratory tract; after quitting, breathing will improve.
  • Avoid using perfumes or air fresheners with strong scents.
  • In case you vomit, eat smaller portions of food.
  • Take a hot shower
  • Keep your hands clean and wash them frequently.

How to stop a coughing fit at night

A backlog of fluid from the heart into the lungs, known as paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea, is a common cause of uncontrollable coughing fits at night. When a heart can't pump enough blood, fluid builds up in the lungs, making breathing difficult and coughing more often.

  • To avoid phlegm from accumulating in your throat, prop up your pillows so that your body is more upright while sleeping.
  • Before going to bed, take a menthol cough drop or a hard candy to assist in lubricating your throat.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. Keep a glass of water near your bed.

What Can You do to Avoid a Coughing Fit?

  • The best technique to avoid a coughing fit is to identify and treat the underlying cause of the cough.
  • Antihistamines are another treatment option for allergy sufferers. These medications work by suppressing the immune system's response to allergens in the environment, reducing coughing fits.
  • Those who have coughing fits due to particular allergens or irritants should strive to restrict their exposure to them.
  • To minimize the frequency and intensity of coughing fits, those with chronic respiratory diseases will need medical therapy.
  • You can avoid coughing episodes by quitting smoking.

Your Cough Matters

Based on our results in Google Play & App Store
  • Excellent, insightful
    By dust mite dan - Apr 7, 2023 - App Store
    This app is easy to use, aesthetically pleasing and has provided me with useful information about my cough and disease patterns that have improved my overall health!

    Try CoughPro for Free
  • Great app!
    by Imtfx0019 — Dec 6, 2022 - App Store
    Impressed with how well it detected my coughs, even very slight ones.
    Try CoughPro for Free
  • App is Great!
    by HBert Quach — Jan 22, 2023, - Google Play
    App is great at tracking cough when little ones are sick. I treat it as a early warning indicator before the cold gets back. Customer service is awesome, they actually respond to all my questions.
    Try CoughPro for Free
  • Great Experience
    by Christi Hammock — Mar 7, 2023, - Google Play

    I had an issue logging into the new app but I contacted the support team and they were awesome in helping me figure out the issue. It turned out to be a technical issue which they resolved very quickly and I was kept in the loop on the status from start to finish. This app is really helpful when talking to my doctor too..
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  • Impressive app
    By KayakTina - Apr 7, 2023 - App Store
    "The app accurately is recording my coughs with excellent ways to review the results. I can add notes to help me identify patterns or have accurate information for my physicians. I’ve hoped for an app like this for years to help me accurately track the amount of coughing I’m doing"
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  • Accurate count of coughs
    by Beardonna — Mar 8, 2023 - App Store

    Just installed the app. Very accurate measuring coughs so far! Cannot wait to see how much coughing I do while sleeping. I'll have a better picture to discuss with my physician at my next visit.

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