Do you have a lingering cough you can’t wait to get rid of? You’re not alone.
The winter season can see an increase in coughs and colds, with some coughs lasting for several weeks.
Dr. Samir Gupta, a respirologist and clinician scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital told Global News that there are two common types of coughs: wet coughs, also known as productive coughs, which basically means coughs that produce phlegm or mucus; and then there are dry coughs, or non-productive coughs.
He added that some people who choose to take cough syrup should be aware that it contains a substance that suppresses coughs, which might not help in the long run.
“If you have an infection, we actually want that phlegm to come out — we want that inflammation, that mucus and those bacteria to make their way out of the lung so suppressing that can actually be harmful,” said Gupta.
So what are some other, natural home remedies you could opt for instead?
Global News spoke with Toronto-based nutritionist Kyle Byron and registered holistic nutritionist Ciara Foy about several home remedies you can try to help boost your immune system and get rid of that pesky cough.
Salt and water gargle
Byron said that this type of home remedy will kill bacteria on contact.
“Doing this multiple times a day can stop a small initial infection from taking hold into a full blown situation,” said Byron.
Foy added that another option is to take some hot water and squeeze in some fresh, organic lemon with a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar, with cayenne pepper for taste.
According to Byron, this is another effective way to kill any bacteria that may be lingering — but don’t fret if you don’t see immediate results.
Foy said that her choice for probiotics would be apple cider vinegar or human microflora probiotic instead of diary or soy-based probiotic, like yogurt.
Foy said that honey is a great way to help combat a cough, but it also depends on the type of honey. She recommends an unpasteurized type of honey.
“That’s because it contains natural anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties that not only helps coat your throat so you don’t cough as much but it’s actually helping to take care of the root cause; the virus or the bacteria that’s there.”
Another way to help ease a cough is ginger.
She advises to take the ginger, two organic lemons and slice them both up very thin. And both to a pot of water, bring it to a boil and then simmer it for 20 minutes. Drink that all day to reduce things such as inflammation and to boost your vitamin C.
WATCH: Health care concerns from legalized marijuana
Byron told Global News that vitamin C is important to have on the list of home remedies because this vitamin is known to be involved with leukocytes, which is a white blood cell that helps fight off foreign substances and diseases.
“[Vitamin D is] very powerful, and involved in many metabolic processes, including the immune system,” said Byron.
According to Foy, hot fluids are the answer to combating sore throats and coughs. An example of hot fluids includes tea.
And even though this isn’t technically a home remedy, Byron added that sleep is another very effective way to help get you back to feeling 100 per cent. Foy emphasized to stay away from sugar, processed foods and alcohol when fighting a cough and congestion.