Treatments for coughing include a humidifier to moisten the air and prevent dehydration to thin mucus secretions, explains WebMD. Using cough drops can lessen throat irritation, although they do not treat a cough. Inexpensive candy-flavored cough drops and more expensive cough drops have the same effectiveness.
Avoid activities such as smoking or the use of other tobacco products, particularly while a cough is present, states WebMD. Other irritants such as dust should also be avoided. Raising the elevation of the head at night with a pillow and adding honey to beverages such as hot tea or water can help ease a dry cough. An expectorant is helpful for coughing with thick mucus, and a suppressant is best for coughing that prevents sleep.
Over-the-counter cough medications such as cough suppressants should be used only according to directions and never overused, according to WebMD. Overuse of over-the-counter cough medication can cause problems and do not work very well. Coughing helps the body expel mucus from the lungs and prevents bacterial infections. People with certain medical conditions such as asthma actually need to cough. The best cough expectorant is one with guaifenesin such as Mucinex or Vicks 44E. However, the use of cough medications can interact with medical conditions and certain medications.