Having a cough under any circumstances is certainly frustrating. After all, a cough can range from irritating to uncomfortable, and it can also alarm the people around you.
Why are you coughing in the first place? On a very basic level, coughing is a way to clear your airway. “It’s a reflex and protective response to any irritant in those areas—either mucus, dust, saliva, or even food,” says Nina L. Shapiro, M.D., an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor) and professor of head and neck surgery at the UCLA School of Medicine.
If you have a cough that’s lingering or develop a sudden severe cough with difficulty breathing, wheezing, or a sudden loss of voice, Shapiro says you need to see a doctor “right away.”
But, if you’re just dealing with a regular cough, you can try at-home solutions to try to get relief. It can also be helpful to work with your medical provider to determine if your cough is related to allergies, asthma, a cold, or something else.
Just know this: Cough syrup is unlikely to help much. Research has found that natural interventions can be more effective at stopping a cough than the common cough suppressant, dextromethorphan.
Here’s how to stop coughing with natural solutions.