An introduction to the common cold and coughing
While a cough is perhaps not as common a symptom as sneezing or congestion, many people do find that they develop a cough either during or after their cold.
It is important to understand which type of cough you have to understand what’s causing it and what you can do. For some more information, see our article on ‘What type of cough do you have?’.
What causes a cough when you have a cold?
Much like sneezing, a cough can be triggered by an irritation in the throat or chest, and it is a useful way to expel pathogens, dirt and dust.
A chesty cough is caused by excess mucus in the lungs or throat. Extra mucus is a common side-effect of a cold, and is also the cause of a blocked nose or runny nose.
A dry, tickly cough, on the other hand is generally caused by an irritation in the throat. This is why people who get a sore throat tend to develop a dry cough afterwards, as some irritation is left in the throat. These types of cough can often last for weeks after the initial infection has gone.
If you haven’t had a cold recently then your cough could be caused by something else.
Are there home remedies to help me?
There are a few things you can do from home to ease your cough, mostly using ingredients you’re likely to already have lying around!
Honey and lemon is a really common one, and this is perfect for a dry, tickly cough that’s caused by an irritated throat. This is because the honey is really soothing and leaves a moisturising, protective layer behind to ease irritation in the throat.
A steam bath is also a great choice to hydrate the airways and loosen congestion. Just fill a bowl with hot, steaming water, add a few drops of essential oil such as our Po-Ho oil and gently breathe the steam in.
Find out more about treating a cough naturally here.
What about herbal remedies?
To ease your overall symptoms and support your immune system in fighting the infection, we recommend Echinaforce. This remedy is made from fresh Echinacea and helps for both bacterial and viral infections. It’s available as a liquid for fast absorption or tablets for convenience!
For the cough itself, we have three different products:
What conventional medicines can I use?
There are a number of effective cough syrups and cough sprays that you can use for your cough. These will be available at your local supermarket, pharmacy or health store. These can be much stronger than herbal versions, so check to see if they are drowsy or non-drowsy, have any contraindications with other medicines, and how many days in a row you can take them for.
If you develop any additional symptoms such as wheezing or fever, make an appointment with your GP to make sure your cough hasn’t progressed to a chest infection or pneumonia. For this you may need antibiotics or antivirals.
If your cough is persistent and doesn’t go away after a few weeks then you should also consult your GP to rule out any underlying problems like allergies or asthma.