How Do You Get Rid of a COVID Cough?

Reviewed on 6/9/2022
Woman with COVID coughing
COVID cough remedies and treatments may include rest, drinking tea or other warm liquid, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, inhaling steam, inhaling through the nose, cough suppressants, pain relievers, anti-viral medications by prescription, and others.

COVID-19 is a novel (new) coronavirus, not previously identified in humans, responsible for an outbreak of respiratory illness that became a global pandemic in 2020. COVID-19 is not the same as other coronaviruses that cause mild illness, such as the common cold.

There is no specific treatment for COVID cough, and supportive care is aimed at relieving symptoms in mild cases. 

13 Home Remedies & Treatments for COVID Cough

In mild cases, staying home and self-isolating for 14 days is recommended to avoid spreading the virus. Treatments for mild COVID symptoms including cough may include:

  • Home remedies
    • Rest
    • For a dry cough:
      • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids
        • Drink tea or other warm liquid
        • Take small sips if you feel you are starting to cough
      • Try swallowing repeatedly if you have a cough and don't have a drink at hand 
      • Blow your nose if you have a runny nose; try not to sniffle if possible
      • Avoid things that may cause you to cough such as:
    • For a cough with phlegm: 
      • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids
      • Inhale steam 
      • Move around if you can to help to move the phlegm 
      • Try lying on one side to help drain phlegm 
      • Try to inhale through the nose because inhaling through the mouth may make you cough more 
  • Medications
    • Cough suppressants
    • Pain relievers 
    • Anti-viral medications by prescription

Monoclonal antibodies may be prescribed for symptomatic cases of COVID in individuals at increased risk for severe disease. Monoclonal antibodies are not indicated for use in severe cases.

More severe cases of COVID may require hospitalization and treatments may include:

  • Corticosteroids 
  • Antiviral therapy with remdesivir 
  • Immunotherapy 
  • Antithrombotic therapy — anticoagulants and antiplatelet therapy 
  • High-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) oxygen 
  • Ventilation 

What Are Symptoms of COVID?

In addition to cough, common symptoms of COVID include:

Call 911 or go to a hospital’s emergency department if you have symptoms of COVID such as:  

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion 
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

How Is COVID Diagnosed?

COVID is diagnosed with a physical examination and a patient history which includes asking the patient about any known recent exposure to the virus. 

If COVID is suspected, diagnostic tests include: 

  • PCR test (genetic or molecular test) 
  • Antigen test
  • Antibody test
    • Used to determine if a person had a past COVID-19 infection, but not used to diagnose current infections because it takes up to 3 weeks following infection for the body to produce antibodies to the virus
Reviewed on 6/9/2022
Image Source: iStock Images