When you're coughing nonstop with bronchitis, you might look for anything you can do to make it stop. Besides a cough suppressant, which can have side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, or dry mouth, a few other things can help you feel better.
Avoid Things That Bother Your Lungs
Staying away from substances like smoke, chemical fumes, dust, and air pollution is the best way to both prevent and treat bronchitis. If you smoke and are having trouble quitting, talk with your doctor about what might work for you. If you can’t stay away from the other substances -- if you work around them, for example -- wear a mask and open windows when possible.
Get Plenty of Rest
The infection and cough that come with bronchitis can make you very tired. Listen to your body and get as much rest as you can, especially over the first few days. If a nighttime cough keeps you awake, use an extra pillow to prop up your head and keep mucus from settling in the back of your throat.
Drink Clear Fluids
When you have bronchitis, it’s important to loosen the mucus in your chest so you can cough it up and breathe more easily. The best way to thin mucus is to drink plenty of fluids like water, diluted fruit juices, herbal tea, and clear soups. Aim for eight to 12 glasses a day. Try to stay away from alcohol and caffeine.
Breathe in Steam
This is another way to loosen mucus so it can move out of your body faster. To make a steam bowl, boil water in a kettle and pour it into a large, heatproof bowl. (Make sure it’s not too hot, though -- that can irritate the lining in your nasal passages.) Drape a towel over your head and lean over the bowl, making a tent with the towel to keep in the steam. Breathe in the vapors for up to 10 minutes. You also might take a hot shower or sit in a steamy bathroom.
Use a Humidifier
Gargle With Salt Water
This can get rid of some of the mucus that coats and irritates your throat. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Spit it out after gargling. You can do this several times a day to make your throat feel better.
Quiet a Cough
Honey has been used as medicine since ancient times. When you eat it on its own or stir it into warm herbal tea, it can help with the irritating cough that often comes with bronchitis and soothe a sore throat, too. But don’t give honey to children younger than 1 year old because it can cause infant botulism, a very serious kind of food poisoning.