8 Do’s and Don’ts When Treating a Cough

When you have a bad cough accompanied by a fever, headache, or body pain, going about your work, chores, and other daily activities can be tough. These cough side effects, along with other symptoms you may be experiencing, can affect your work as well as your psychological, emotional, and social well-being.

Since you are not in the best shape when you are sick, you may be unintentionally doing and not doing some things that are aggravating your condition. Although you are not doing it deliberately, you may be spreading your illness to others simply because you are not following proper cough etiquette.

To get rid of your cough and keep it from spreading, make sure you follow these important do’s and don’ts:


  1. Make sure you are using the right medication

There are many over-the-counter cold and cough medicines you can buy at drugstores and supermarkets. However, not all of them are the same since different ingredients treat different symptoms.

To be sure you will be drinking the right medicine that will treat your cough, buy a product that specifically addresses your symptoms. If you are not sure which one to get, consult your doctor first.  

  1. Read and follow the label instructions

Once you have your medicine, read the label. Pay attention to how much and how often you should take it. Be on the lookout for any special instructions as well such as food or activities you have to avoid while taking the medication.  

Take note of the maximum number of days you should take the medication as well. This is because most over-the-counter cough medicines are only intended for short-term use.

  1. Build up your immune system

To hasten your recovery and keep other illnesses at bay, you need to strengthen your immune system. Drinking water, natural fruit juice, broth, and other clear liquids all day will enable you to stay hydrated and help your immune system in fighting sickness.

In addition, water and clear fluids can help loosen mucus and replace fluids you lose from sneezing and blowing your nose frequently if you also have a cold.

Make sure you eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and get plenty of sleep as well. By doing so, you will effectively boost your immunity.

  1. Follow proper etiquette

To prevent spreading your cough, make sure you:

  • Always cough into a disposable tissue and discard it immediately.
  • Turn away from people when coughing.
  • Wash your hands after coughing. If there is no water and soap available, use alcohol or a hand sanitizer.
  • Always keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.


  1. Use more than one medication at a time

If you drink more than one cold and cough medicine at a time, even if they are treating different symptoms, you may have an accidental overdose.

Additionally, do not take cough and cold medications for a long period of time. These medications are designed to work quickly. If you have already exceeded the recommended days of drinking it and you’re still not getting better, see your doctor as soon as possible.

  1. Consume cold foods and drinks

As much as you may want to eat ice cream or sip a cold smoothie, avoid them until your cough gets better.

This is because cold foods and beverages can cause the respiratory lining to dry out. And this will make your throat and lungs more susceptible to infections. It will also trigger coughing due to irritation.

  1. Smoke and drink caffeinated beverages

When you inhale cigarette smoke (whether first, second, or third hand), your throat lining will become irritated. This will trigger coughing and even delay your recovery.

You also need to avoid drinking coffee, sodas, and other caffeinated beverages since they are acidic. They also cause gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD can cause the esophageal sphincter to become loose thereby allowing more acid to get into the esophagus. This can further aggravate your cough especially if you are also suffering from asthma.

  1. Sleep flat on your back

If you have mucus and phlegm, make sure you never lie flat on your back when sleeping. This is because, with this sleeping position, all the mucus and phlegm in your body will come up to irritate your throat. This will trigger nighttime coughing which will prevent you from getting a good night’ sleep.

To avoid severe coughing at night, sleep in an inclined position or on your sides. This will keep the mucus and phlegm settled and prevent them from rising up.

Aside from following these do’s and don’ts, make sure you follow your doctor’s instructions to a T. And if you do not notice any change in your condition, do not hesitate to see your doctor again.