According to WebMD, a persistent cough can be alleviated by drinking plenty of fluids. Liquids provide the necessary moisture to break up the wet, cough-causing mucus of a post nasal drip while also keeping mucus membranes moist, which prevents dry coughs. Hot or warm moisture is especially helpful, such as consuming hot beverages or taking a hot shower with plenty of steam. Humidifiers work well also.
WebMD states that coughs are also caused by irritants in the environment. The most common is smoke. Other irritants are perfumes and scented sprays. WebMD warns that a severe cough in a smoker can be the symptom of emphysema or lung cancer. Seek immediate medical attention if the cough is severe.
Mother Nature Network states that coughs are caused by irritants affecting the nerve endings in the air passage between the throat and lungs and the body's attempt to clear that passage. Honey naturally soothes sore throats and is also effective in stopping a cough. It can be put in a beverage, taken undiluted, mixed with coconut oil and lemon juice or made into a tea by adding 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper and 2 tablespoons honey to a cup of hot boiled water.