What can be done to control or relieve a cough?

Treating a cough will depend on what is causing the cough. For infections, your doctor might prescribe some type of antibiotic or antiviral medication. For GERD, he or she might prescribe a proton pump inhibitor.

Drinking water can help ease a cough. In addition, adding it to the air with a vaporizer or having a steamy shower are other ways water relieves a cough.

Quitting smoking and avoiding other irritants are also ways to relieve a cough. Those irritants may include medicines, smoke, or other allergens.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/30/2018.


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  • Maselli D, Anzueto A. Chapter 24. Cough. In: Henderson MC, Tierney LM, Jr., Smetana GW. eds. The Patient History: An Evidence-Based Approach to Differential Diagnosis New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2012.

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