How Do You Get Rid of a Cough Fast?

Reviewed on 1/21/2022
A tea pot pouring green tea into a teacup
Treatment for a cough can include home remedies and medications such as staying hydrated, gargling with warm salt water, drinking tea with honey, cough lozenges, mentholated vapor rub, a steam shower, a humidifer, over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines, decongestants, and others.

A cough is the body’s way to help clear the airways of irritants and to prevent infection. Cough is not a disease in itself, but a symptom of an underlying medical condition.

Treatment to get rid of a cough fast depends on the cause and whether the cough is acute or chronic. Common causes include the common cold, COVID-19, whooping cough, bacterial or viral infections, asthma, pneumonia, smoking, COPD, GERD, and others.

If the cough is not serious, home remedies may help get rid of a cough fast, such as:

  • Staying hydrated
  • Gargling with warm saltwater 
  • Drinking tea with honey
  • Cough lozenges
    • Lozenges are not recommended for young children; they can be a choking hazard
  • Using a mentholated vapor rub to help open airways
  • Inhaling steam in a shower before bed (caution: steam can worsen cough in people who have asthma)
  • Using a humidifier (caution: if cough is due to allergies to dust mites or mold, too much moisture can make it worse)

Other home remedies to help relieve cough include:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Avoid allergens such as pollen, dust, animals, or mold 
  • Avoid inhaled irritants such as smoke, dust, and other pollutants
  • For GERD: Avoid foods that increase reflux, avoiding meals before lying down, elevating the head while sleeping
  • Wash bedding at least once/week in hot water to keep dust mites in check if cough is due to allergies

Medical treatment to get rid of a cough may include: 

What Are Symptoms of a Cough?

A cough is a symptom in itself and may be accompanied by other cold symptoms, such as:

What Causes a Cough?

Causes of cough include:

How Is a Cough Diagnosed?

The cause of a cough is diagnosed with a history and physical exam, and tests such as: 

Reviewed on 1/21/2022
Image Source: iStock Images