How To Get Rid Of A Tickly Cough

How To Get Rid Of A Tickly Cough

By Girish Desai Pharmacist (GPhC 2019217)

Coughs can be caused by various conditions and situations. Often coughs are a side effect of cold and flu, alongside a sore throat and tiredness, and tickly coughs can be caused by dust, smog and pollution, or even cold air and hayfever. 

A tickly cough can be frustrating as it interrupts your day-to-day, even if it isn’t a symptom of something else. However, there are a number of home remedies and tips you can use to deal with it. If you have any concerns your cough is related to coronavirus, seek out the NHS guidelines on COVID-19.

Remedies For A Tickly Cough

hot herbal tea

When thinking about remedies for a tickly cough, it helps to understand what causes it and therefore why certain remedies are effective. A tickly cough doesn't produce any mucus; unlike a cold where you get a runny nose and your throat can feel thick with moisture. With a tickly cough, the absence of mucus leads to a dryness that becomes an irritation which tickles the back of your throat and makes you cough. To get rid of a tickly cough, you need to soothe the irritation. 

We recommend trying one or some of the following:

Drink Tea

Specifically caffeine-free tea using honey, ginger and/or thyme. Honey soothes your throat, ginger promotes healing and thyme relaxes your respiratory tract.

Pukka Herbal Collection Tea Bags 80

Eat Hot Soup

Whether brothy or blended, you are aiming here to add moisture and soothe your throat with a delicious hot soup.

Drink More Water

You might simply need to drink more water to alleviate a tickly cough, especially if it is the result of dust getting in your mouth.

Suck On Throat Lozenges/Hard Candies

Focus on those with high-quality glycerin, like Grether's Pastilles, as this helps keep your mouth and throat moist and prevents irritation.

Grether's Blackcurrant Pastilles Sugar Free Pouch 30g

Tips For Dealing With A Tickly Cough

person in bath

You should do all you can to stem the causes of a tickly cough, and drinking hot liquids to combat dryness is just one part. 

In order to get rid of a tickly cough,, you should following these simple tips:

  • Avoid caffeine – you might not realise it but caffeine is dehydrating. It might feel good to drink coffee or caffeinated tea in the moment, but it could make your tickly cough worse!
  • Inhale steam – obviously be careful here, the aim is to steam your nose and mouth, not boil them. Put your face over a bowl of freshly boiled water, or take a bath and soak in the vapours.
  • Use a humidifier – since dry, cold air can make a tickly cough worse, or even be the cause, you can soothe your throat by adding more humidity to the air. 
  • Get plenty of rest – sleep will do wonders for you, body and soul. If you are sick, whether with a tickly cough or not, you need to allow time to rest and heal. Get to bed early and enjoy a lie-in.
  • Wrap a scarf around your throat – if you have to go outside, especially in cold weather, you should be wrapping up your throat, keeping it warm and locking moisture in.

If Your Tickly Cough Persists Then…

You should be able to shift a tickly cough using the above, in a combination that works for you. The NHS suggests you should contact your GP if: 'you have had a cough for more than 3 weeks (persistent cough)', 'your cough is very bad or quickly gets worse' or you have other symptoms. See a GP urgently if you're coughing up blood.


Herbal Teas

Throat lozenges