But instead of reaching for the medicine cabinet as the best way to cure your cough, why not try natural home remedy to alleviate the symptoms?
Natural cough remedies that you can make yourself range from old wives tales to those that you've never even heard of before, but they all avoid the pharmacy.
Although a doctor's visit isn't a necessity for all colds, if you are wondering how to treat a persistent cough, it is best to visit your GP in case the cough is a symptom of another problem rather than just starting to treat a persistent cough with home remedies.
Apparently dreams do come true! Yet another excuse to indulge our sweet tooth and tuck into that sharing size bar of Dairy Milk we have hidden in the fridge. Recent scientific studies have shown that cocoa can help to treat coughs for short-term relief, so for chocolate to help as a natural remedy for your cough, try slowly sucking on a single square, this will provide a quick relief for a tickly throat.
Our grandma always used to say that ginger and garlic were good for a cold, and now science has proved she was right! Ginger and garlic contain anti-viral agents which make a fantastic cold remedy and will reduce the length of your cough. To make ginger and garlic edible you should blend fresh ginger root with a few cloves of fresh garlic and a little water to make a paste, then add a small amount to hot water, stir and drink throughout the day.
Homemade cough syrup
We've all heard that honey does a great job of soothing irritated throats – it's known to be a substance that relieves irritation with high viscosity (not to mention it is really sticky), so coats your mucus membranes completely and soothes the scratch. In fact honey is so effective that a study by Penn State College of Medicine found that it works better than many over the counter drugs! Instead of just adding honey to water, make it even more effective by adding a pinch of black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Pelargonium sidoides, present in Kaloba tablets, is a root extract which can be used to treat infections such as coughs, colds, sore throats and runny noses. Kaloba tablets help to reduce the severity of the symptoms and shorten the duration of the cough. Pelargonium has anti-viral and anti-bacterial activity and may help improve your immune function.
The sweet licorice herb has been used for centuries to treat sore throats and alleviate coughing. Similarly to honey, it is a demulcent, which works to coat the irritated membranes in your throat and calm down the cough. Place one teaspoon of the dried herb into two cups of water and boil. Allow it to steep before drinking. But licorice root is not suitable to give to children, so best only use for yourself.
Pineapple might not seem like the most conventional cough treatment, especially on a dark winter's evening when you'd much rather have a cup of hot chocolate than a pina colada. But bromelain, an enzyme found in the flesh of the tropical fruit, has been proven to suppress coughs and loosen mucus in the throat, the perfect treatment for a cough and a great natural remedy. Make sure you eat fresh pineapple, rather than a smoothie or dried versions for the best results.
Learn a new coughing technique
This natural remedy might sound a little speculative, but it's great if you've been suffering with a cough for more than a week and your throat is feeling strained. Next time you feel a cough coming on, instead of coughing normally force yourself to take small, gentle, shallow coughs and end on a large one if you need to.
Smaller coughs encourage the mucus higher up your throat so it can leave your body.