Wet cough: 9 home remedies to stop coughing

Wet cough can be common as the season changes, While over-the-counter medicines are available, you can also try home remedies for wet cough.
Wet cough treatment
Know how to deal with wet cough. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 2 Nov 2023, 10:30 am IST
  • 128
Medically Reviewed by

When the weather changes, we often sneeze or cough. The thing about coughing is that once it starts, it takes forever to stop. It can keep you up all night, make it difficult to speak and just leave you feeling annoyed. Whether it is dry cough or wet cough, doctors will suggest you to have cough syrups and other medicines. You can also try home remedies for wet cough, which is a type of cough that produces mucus or phlegm.

What is wet cough?

A wet cough is often characterised by a sound or sensation of congestion in the chest or throat. Wet coughs are commonly associated with respiratory infections such as the common cold or bronchitis, and they help to clear excess mucus from the airways, says Dr Ravi Shekhar Jha, Director and Head of Department, Pulmonology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad.

Wet cough and dry cough are different
Wet cough is different from dry cough. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Wet cough vs dry cough

A dry cough, also known as a non-productive cough, is different from a wet cough. In dry cough, mucus or phlegm does not get produced. It’s often characterised by a tickling or scratching sensation in the throat, and the cough itself does not bring up any secretions. Dry coughs can be caused by various factors, including irritants, allergies, or viral infections, and they are typically less effective in clearing the airways compared to wet coughs, which help to remove mucus and other substances from the respiratory system.

What makes wet cough worse

There are several factors and actions that can make a wet cough worse or exacerbate the symptoms. These include:-

1. Smoking

Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke can irritate the airways and make a wet cough more severe, says the expert.

2. Allergens

Exposure to allergens such as pollen, dust or mold can trigger or worsen a wet cough in people who have allergies.

3. Dry air

Breathing dry air can further irritate the throat and airways, but use a humidifier to help to alleviate this.

Health Shots Recommends: 5 best humidifiers for dry indoor air: A winter must-have at home

4. Cold air

Inhaling cold air can constrict airways and increase coughing. Covering your mouth and nose in cold weather may help to some extent.

5. Respiratory irritants

Exposure to pollutants can affect your lungs, and so can strong odours or chemicals that can exacerbate a wet cough.

Select Topics of your interest and let us customize your feed.


6. Not staying hydrated

Dehydration can thicken mucus, making it harder to clear from the airways, so drink water and healthy beverages.

Home remedies for wet cough

There are several natural ways to help alleviate the symptoms of a wet cough.

1. Hydration

Drink plenty of fluids such as water, herbal teas or warm broth to keep your airways moist and help thin mucus, says Dr Jha.

2. Honey

Honey has natural antibacterial and soothing properties, so mixing it with warm water or herbal tea can help to relieve coughing.

3. Steam inhalation

It might seem a little suffocating, but inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water can help to loosen mucus and ease congestion.

4. Saltwater gargle

This is one of the most common and effective ways to stop coughing. Gargling with warm saltwater can reduce irritation while soothing your sore throat.

Woman with wet cough
Use ginger or garlic to treat wet cough. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Ginger

Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used in your favourite tea or as a throat-soothing remedy. You can also heat it, put a little salt to it and just keep it in mouth for some time.

6. Garlic

Garlic has natural antibacterial properties, so chewing raw garlic or using it in cooking can help to boost the immune system.

7. Hot toddy

It is a warm beverage with honey, lemon and a small amount of whiskey or brandy. It can provide relief from cough symptoms, but should be used in moderation, warns the expert.

8. Eucalyptus oil

Adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of hot water and inhaling the steam can help to clear nasal passages and ease coughing.

9. Elevate your head

Sleeping with your head elevated can
make it easier to breathe at night and reduce postnasal drip, which is secretion from your nose that drains down into your throat. This whole process causes congestion and cough.

These home remedies can provide relief for mild cases of wet cough, but if your symptoms worsen, check with a doctor.

  • 128
About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

Next Story