How to Get Rid of a Lingering Cough

May 13, 2024
Picture of a woman coughing and holding a tissue.

Coughing serves an important function—it helps propel irritants like dust, germs, and mucus out of your lungs and throat, helping to protect your airways from irritation and inflammation. But a cough that refuses to go away can take a toll on your daily life. Below, we explore potential causes of nagging coughs and offer tips for how to get rid of a lingering cough.

Why Are You Coughing So Much But Not Sick?

When you’re already feeling under the weather—perhaps you’re sneezing or congested or you have a fever, a runny nose, or a sore throat—it’s not surprising that you would also be coughing. But what about when those symptoms resolve (or you never experienced any other symptoms to begin with), and you’re still stuck with a cough weeks or even months later? Here are a few common causes of a lingering cough:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Postnasal drip
  • Taking angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (commonly used to treat high blood pressure)

In some cases, a nagging cough can result from more serious conditions such as heart failure and lung cancer. Although relatively rare, it’s still important to consult with an experienced medical provider who can rule out any concerns and diagnose exactly what’s causing your cough.

How to Stop a Nagging Cough

In some cases, lingering coughs will require professional treatment. But until you can speak to a medical provider, you may want to try the following at-home remedies for a nagging cough:

  • Breathe in moisturized air by using a humidifier, visiting a sauna, running a warm shower, or inhaling the steam from a bowl of hot water.
  • Gargle with salt water.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, sipping on broth, and eating foods with high water contents (e.g., cucumbers, lettuce, melons, oranges, and strawberries).
  • Avoid smoking and being exposed to secondhand smoke.

Honey can act as a natural cough suppressant, so you can also try eating a spoonful of honey or mixing it into tea. But because honey can contain a type of bacteria that causes infant botulism, it’s important that you don’t give honey to children under age one.

Skillfully Treating Coughs That Won’t Go Away

If you need help getting rid of a lingering cough, you can turn to the knowledgeable team at PhysicianOne Urgent Care. Since our practice was founded in 2008, we’ve steadily grown and now have locations across Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. Our providers are all trained in either emergency, family, or internal medicine and have experience treating a wide range of non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries, including ones that can cause a nagging cough. We’re a convenient choice for cough treatment because we:

  • Welcome patients of all ages
  • Are open 365 days per year with extended hours
  • Perform same-day lab testing
  • Offer 24/7 remote care
  • Accept most major health insurance plans
  • Have affordable self-pay rates

Click here to find out whether PhysicianOne Urgent Care has a location near you. And because we provide care when and where our patients want it, you can walk in, book a visit online, or take advantage of our 24/7 integrated telehealth service.

This was the fastest, easiest, and best doctor's visit. The provider was extremely kind and helpful. I explained my symptoms, the provider asked a few followup questions, and then she issued a script. I will absolutely be using this service again and would recommend to anyone.
  • 5.0
  • 4.6