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Find out how to stop coughing and feel better in no time. These FAQs will answer all your questions about coughing and what to do if you have one.

RELATED: Chronic Cough Symptoms & Treatment | Why Am I Coughing? 

FAQs on How to Stop Coughing 

What Is a Cough?

A man coughing | How to Stop Coughing | What Is a Cough?

Interestingly, a cough itself is not an illness. 

It’s either a symptom of an illness or a vehicle to rid our bodies of foreign matter. A cough indicates that something isn’t quite right in our bodies, and it signals our conscious mind that we need to pay attention to it. 

In short, a cough is a spontaneous reflex that clears your airways. To be more specific or technical, a cough works like this:

  • The sensory fibers present in our trachea, throat, and upper bronchi link to a “coughing” center within our brain. When something irritates these cells, they send a signal to trigger the cough mechanism. 
  • Next, we inhale.
  • The epiglottis (the opening to the trachea) closes.
  • The chest constricts and compresses the air in our lungs.
  • Finally, the epiglottis opens and forces a burst of air out of our mouths, taking with it infected mucus and other irritants in a beautifully gross and far-reaching expulsion.
  • While there are many reasons for coughing, the mechanics remain the same.

What Is a Cough Tracker?

Doctor diagnosing COPD | How to Stop Coughing | What Is a Cough Tracker?

A cough tracker identifies and monitors coughing. It provides cough frequency information to users and doctors.

Objective cough frequency measurements may help diagnose conditions. It may also help manage chronic diseases such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

Cough tracking ensures early intervention. For example, monitoring cough frequency can indicate if a condition is worsening. By identifying changes in cough patterns sooner, doctors can change the patient’s treatment before a disease causes irreversible damage.

How To Stop Coughing…

How to Stop Coughing at Night

Air humidifier to night coughing | How to Stop Coughing | How to Stop Coughing at Night

Coughing gets worse at night because you’re lying down. 

When you lie down, phlegm drips down the back of the throat and begins to pool. It then triggers a cough reflex to get rid of the obstruction.

Your cough may also be worse at night because gravity causes stomach acid to creep up your throat. The rising stomach acid irritates nerves in the esophagus, which sets off a reflexive action, and you cough.

Once you’ve seen a doctor and figured out the cause of your nighttime coughing, here are some home remedies you can also try.

  • A humidifier adds moisture to the air but only use sterile water to prevent cycling germs back into the air.
  • Avoid irritants. Make your bedroom a sanctuary by keeping the windows closed and pets out. You can also try an air purifier.
  • Drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Keep some water next to your bed as well.
  • Suck on a menthol cough drop or hard candy before bed to help lubricate your throat.
  • Prop up your pillows so that your body is more upright while you sleep to prevent phlegm from pooling in your throat.
  • Manage acid reflux and GERD symptoms.
  • Add raw honey to tea or swallow it straight. It’s a natural cough suppressant and may help a coughing child sleep better.

How to Stop Coughing Attacks

Coughing attacks, or paroxysmal coughing, involves violent and frequent coughing that can make it hard for a person to breathe.

In severe cases, coughing attacks can become so bad that you vomit, and your lips can turn blue from a lack of oxygen. If you experience these symptoms, always seek emergency medical care. 

Once your doctor has diagnosed the cause, they will treat you depending on the cause, such as antibiotics, an inhaler, or antacids.

To help with the symptoms, try the following actions (as well as what we have already mentioned):

  • Stay isolated if you have a bacterial infection.
  • Eliminate exposure to smoke.
  • Don’t use heavily scented products like perfume or air fresheners.
  • Eat smaller portions of food in case you vomit.
  • Keep clean and wash your hands regularly.

How to Stop Coughing from Allergies

For some of us, perhaps those with a history of asthma or a system sensitive to irritants, inhaling anything that would trigger an allergic response, such as mold, is the most common reason for coughing. 

Pollen, pet dander, dust, or chemicals can have the same effect, giving rise to a coughing fit, watering eyes, and shortness of breath.

The best way to stop coughing from allergies is to combat the allergy. This can be done by removing allergens, for example, removing mold or never having a pet. But for some people, this isn’t possible or practical. 

Therefore to stop coughing from allergies, the best way is to treat the allergy. Some people take antihistamines, steroids, nasal sprays, or other medication, and some people use natural remedies, like herbs or acupuncture.

How to Stop Coughing in Children

Coughs and colds are common in children, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Exposure to germs and fighting them helps children’s immune systems to develop. However, it’s heartbreaking for any parent to see their child suffer from a nasty cough. 

For coughs that last longer than a few days, make sure you see a doctor to figure out the cause. Here are some remedies you can use to alleviate the symptoms.

  • A teaspoon of honey is a natural cough suppressant and may help a coughing child sleep better (safe only for children above 6 months of age; below 6 months carries a risk of infant botulism).
  • Applying vapor rub has been done for generations, but some people now believe it can make mucus worse. One possible option is to apply it to your child’s feet and not their chest. Check with your pediatrician before using any vapor rub.
  • Make sure they stay hydrated but steer clear of milk, which can make mucus feel thicker.

Suppressing a cough is generally not a good idea since it’s your body’s way of clearing your airway. Always seek help from a doctor to diagnose your cough, and then treat the cough and alleviate the symptoms.

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