Continued from last Monday
5. Marshmallow: Marshmallow is made from Althaea officinalis, a perennial that flowers in summer. The leaves and roots of the herb have been used since ancient times to treat sore throats and suppress coughs. There are no well-controlled studies to support these claims, but the herb is generally considered safe.
The marshmallow herb contains mucilage, which coats the throat and soothes irritation.
Today, you can get marshmallow root as tea or in capsule form. The warm tea can be soothing to a cough that’s accompanied by a sore throat. Marshmallow root is not recommended for children.
6. Thyme: Thyme is used by some for respiratory illnesses. One study suggests that the essence extracted from thyme leaves mixed with ivy can help relieve coughing as well as short-term bronchitis. The leaves contain compounds called flavonoids that relax the throat muscles involved in coughing and lessen inflammation.
You can make thyme tea at home using 2 teaspoons of crushed thyme leaves and 1 cup of boiling water. Cover the cup, steep for 10 minutes, and strain.
7. Salt and water gargle: While the remedy may seem relatively simple, a salt and water gargle can help soothe a scratchy throat that causes you to cough. Mixing 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water can help to relieve irritation.
Note that children under age 6 aren’t especially good at gargling. It’s best to try other remedies for this age group.
How to prevent coughing
In addition to learning how to treat a cough, you might want to learn how to prevent them in the first place. To protect against flu, make sure you get your annual flu shot, usually starting in October. Other steps you can take include:
Avoid coming in contact with others who are sick. If you know you are sick, avoid going to work or school so you will not infect others.
Cover your nose and mouth whenever you cough or sneeze.
Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
Clean the common areas of your home, work, or school frequently. This is especially true for countertops, toys, or mobile phones.
Wash your hands frequently, especially after coughing, eating, going to the bathroom, or caring for someone who is sick.
With allergies, you can reduce flare-ups by identifying the allergens that affect you and avoiding exposure to them. Common allergens include trees, pollen, dust mites, animal fur, mold, and insects. Allergy shots are helpful as well and can reduce your sensitivity to allergens. Talk to your doctor about what plan is right for you.