How to Cure a Wet Cough


A wet cough normally means phlegm or mucus has accumulated in your throat passages from a virus, allergies or other medical condition. Curing a wet cough involves using fluids and medication to thin the mucus so you may clear it from your throat. A dry cough differs as there is no mucus to expel, only an irritation or tickling in the throat. Determine if you have a wet cough and what caused it to know the right medications to cure it.

Things You'll Need

  • Cough expectorants
  • Fluids
  • Acid reflux medications
  • Decongestants
Woman coughing in bed
Woman coughing in bed (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Step 1

Take over-the-counter liquid expectorant medications to thin mucus. Expectorants containing guaifenesin loosen mucus allowing you to cough the phlegm from your throat. Take the medicine as directed on the container.

Cough medicine
Cough medicine (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Step 2

Drink plenty of fluids such as water and juice. Liquids slide over your throat, further loosening the thick mucus.

Girl drinking juice
Girl drinking juice (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Step 3

Take non-prescription or prescription medication for wet coughs resulting from acid reflux. Acid reflux allows acid to churn back up into the esophagus, resulting in a sour-tasting cough. Medication lowers the acid build up in your stomach, reducing the reflux action.

Woman taking pill
Woman taking pill (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Step 4

Take an over-the-counter decongestant if a runny nose and post-nasal drip accompany the wet cough. The decongestant reduces inflammation and dries up post-nasal drip and keeps it from flowing to the back of your throat.

Decongestant pills
Decongestant pills (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Step 5

Stop smoking or avoid second hand smoke. Smoke irritates the throat passages and causes wet, unproductive coughing.

Cigarette butt
Cigarette butt (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

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Tips & Warnings

  • Wear a mask when mowing or other outdoor activities during high-pollen season to keep nasal and throat passages clear.
  • Take all medications as directed. If you take prescription medications, look on over-the-counter medicines for any warnings on mixing medications.


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