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How to Stop a Cough Attack? | Know The Types and a Few Common Causes of Cough

How to Stop a Cough Attack?

Coughing is a symptom that is associated with many health conditions. Many of these conditions may be relatively harmless while others may be much more severe.

There are several methods that can be helpful in stopping coughing. These include:

  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Taking a steamy shower
  • Over-the-counter medication
  • Sipping hot water along with honey
  • Using humidifier

Most of the time coughing occurs due to irritation in the throat and all the above tips can be helpful in relieving the dryness and irritation. Coughing can also result due to an underlying condition.

How to Stop Coughing in Infants?

Children or infants who have coughing can be given plenty of water to soothe the throat and lessen coughing.

A cool mist vaporizer can also be placed next to the child’s bed to minimize coughing. The Food and Drug Association does not recommend giving over-the-counter medications to children under 2 years of age.(1)

Also, honey is not recommended for children as it can lead to infant botulism.(2)

Types of Coughs

There are many health conditions that have cough as a symptom. Also, there are different types of coughs depending on the condition. According to the American Lung Association (ALA), cough is classified as:(4)

  • Acute cough: It comes suddenly and lasts for up to 3 weeks.
  • Subacute cough: It comes suddenly and lasts for up to 3-8 weeks.
  • Chronic cough: This cough lasts for mostly 8 weeks.
  • Dry cough: There is no phlegm in this cough.
  • Nocturnal cough: This type of cough comes up at night.
  • Hemoptysis: In this condition, a person coughs up blood.

Few Common Causes of Cough

There are numerous conditions that can lead to cough.


As the current pandemic is going on, dry cough a pointer symptom of COVID-19 can be of much concern. This disease occurs due to the novel coronavirus SARCoV-2.

Along with dry cough, other symptoms of COVID-19 include:

Most people develop mild symptoms. But some can develop severe and even life-threatening symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people should seek emergency medical treatment if they develop the following symptoms:(3)

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Confusion and inability to arouse
  • Bluish discoloration of lips and face
  • Persistent pain in the chest

Upper Respiratory Tract Infection

Upper respiratory tract infection can be a result of a viral or bacterial infection in the nose, sinus, pharynx, and larynx.

This infection can lead to common cold, pharyngitis, laryngitis, tonsilitis, and sinusitis.

Moderate to severe cough is a common symptom of upper respiratory tract infection. The other symptoms include:

Lower Respiratory Tract Infection

In a lower respiratory tract infection, the lungs are affected. The conditions include bronchitis and pneumonia.

In bronchitis the bronchi present in the lungs get infected. A dry or productive cough is the primary symptom of bronchitis. The productive cough consists of green or blood-tinged mucus. The other symptoms of bronchitis are:

Pneumonia is an infection that can affect one or both lungs and leads to a dry and productive cough. The other symptoms of pneumonia include:

Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis occurs in people with a weak immune system when it overreacts to the environment. Common allergens known to be present in the environment include:

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Cockroaches
  • Pet hair
  • Molds

Allergic rhinitis leads to dry cough, nasal congestion, itching in the eyes, nose, and mouth, and swollen eyelids.


Asthma is a condition in which there is a narrowing of the airways, making it difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs, leading to breathing difficulties.

Asthma has no cure, but the symptoms are managed effectively with the treatments. A person with asthma may present the following symptoms:

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

The chronic obstructive pulmonary disease includes conditions that block the airflow in and out of the lungs.

This condition leads to inflammation and thickening of the airway within the lungs and causes damage to the lung tissues responsible for the exchange of gasses.

The symptom of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease include:

  • Wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive mucus production
  • Frequent respiratory infection
  • Cyanosis of lips and fingernails

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer occurs due to uncontrollable cell division in the lungs and is the 3rd most common cancer in the United States.(5) It leads to the growth of tumors. It causes excessive coughing and can spread to other parts of the body as well.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a lingering cough may gradually worsen. Other symptoms of lung cancer include:(6)

  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up of blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Weight loss
  • Feeling fatigued

How to Prevent a Coughing Fit?

To prevent a coughing fit, it is important to identify the cause.

People with chronic respiratory conditions need medical treatment to reduce the frequency and severity of coughing fits.

If the cough is due to allergies, a person should try limiting exposure to allergens and irritants. Antihistamines can be helpful in suppressing the immune response to environmental allergens.

Quitting smoking can also be helpful in preventing episodes of coughing.

There are several steps that can be taken to stop or manage cough attacks. If the attacks are very frequent, one should look forward to finding the reason behind them. Consulting a doctor can be helpful in reaching the correct diagnosis and thereby preventing future episodes and finding a more effective solution for the bouts of coughs that may bother frequently.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 18, 2022

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