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What is the fastest way to clear a chesty cough?

What is the fastest way to clear a chesty cough?

A chesty cough can leave you sore, irritated, and downright miserable - which means you'll be looking to get rid of it as soon as possible. The good news is that there are many simple ways to ease the symptoms of chesty cough and speed your recovery.

Let's take a look at how a chesty cough develops and what you can do to feel better sooner.

Lifestyle insight
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What causes a chesty cough?

Coughing is actually a natural reflex. It’s your body’s way of getting rid of something that might harm your lungs and throat. Irritants like dust, dirt, and mucus can trigger your cough reflex, causing you to cough until your airways are clear again. 

Respiratory infections such as colds & flu, acute bronchitis, and pneumonia can lead to inflammation in the airways and the production of extra mucus, which also triggers your cough reflex. Your body is simply trying to remove this mucus before it can enter the lungs (and potentially cause other problems).

This can mean you’ll be coughing for the entire duration of the respiratory infection, and sometimes even longer. 

How does a chesty cough develop?

A chesty cough most often develops as the result of a chest cold. A chest cold causes the lower airways (bronchi of the lungs) to become temporarily inflamed, which is why a chest cold may also be referred to as acute bronchitis.  When you have a cold virus, you’ll usually experience other symptoms of a cold along with your cough, like sneezing, a runny nose, and blocked sinuses. 

It’s common for a cough resulting from a chest cold to start out as a dry cough before developing into a productive cough. A productive cough means you’re coughing up mucus (sputum). The colour of this mucus may change during the course of your illness, usually starting out as thin and whitish and later becoming a thicker, greenish yellow.

One of the most annoying things about a chesty cough is that it is often worse at night. This can prevent or interrupt sleep, making you feel even worse. You may also be dealing with a mild fever, a stuffy nose, and a sore throat. Frequent coughing can lead to a sore chest and pain behind the breastbone, which can make breathing more difficult. Your voice may also become hoarse. 

How long does a chesty cough last?

As unpleasant and persistent as a chesty cough can be, it will most often clear up on its own.
The cough usually starts on the second or third day that you have a cold virus. Many people find their chesty cough hangs around for some time after their cold symptoms have cleared up, which can be around 10 to 14 days. 

It’s important to consider all your symptoms and identify what might be causing your chesty cough. A chest infection can last much longer than a cough caused by a respiratory infection and may require different treatment. 

An acute cough is one that lasts fewer than three weeks, and a subacute cough lasts for three to eight weeks. A cough is considered chronic if it persists for more than eight weeks.

A chronic cough may be the result of something more serious than airway irritation or a chest infection. If your cough doesn’t seem to be improving at all, see your health practitioner.

How can you get rid of a chesty cough faster?

A chesty cough won’t disappear overnight, but there are a few ways to help cut down the length of time it sticks around. It’s all a matter of looking after yourself and supporting your body’s immune defences. 

Here are some simple tips to speed your recovery: 


Keeping yourself hydrated is even more important when you’re battling a cold or flu virus. Drinking at least 2 litres of clean filtered water a day helps to support your immune system and detoxification pathways, while herbal teas and nourishing soups can help to soothe an irritated airway and sore throat.

Research has even shown that a hot drink can provide immediate and sustained relief from symptoms of runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, chilliness and tiredness.  Tea made with ginger, lemon, and honey is great for a congested chest.  

Avoid irritants

Smoking or vaping can irritate the airways even more, triggering the production of more mucus and making coughing even more uncomfortable. Try to avoid exposure to these irritants as much as possible, and get fresh air when you can. 

2x Faster Chesty Cough Relief


If your chest is sore from coughing, or you just can’t stop coughing, or both, you’ll be wanting relief, and fast. 

That’s where a cough formula comes in. There are dozens of liquid cough formulas or syrups available either with a prescription or over the counter these days, and they all work in slightly different ways. Some are medications that act directly on the cough reflex, while others are made with plant-based ingredients to soothe an inflamed chest and make coughing easier. When choosing a cough formula, it can be helpful to check whether it has scientific evidence to back up its claims. 

EA 575 & Prospan

SFI Health Prospan Chesty Cough is a unique cough formula made with an exclusive extract of ivy leaf called EA 575®. Ivy leaf extract contains saponins that have been found to have expectorant properties.  Studies have also shown that ivy leaf extract has  potential antispasmodic and bronchodilating activity, anti-inflammatory effects, and antitussive properties. 

EA 575® is great for both kids and adults. It works in five different ways to relieve a chesty cough and allow you to breathe freely again. First, it thins and loosens mucus in the chest, helping to clear stubborn congestion. This makes it easier for you to cough up the mucus. EA 575® also relieves inflammation in the respiratory tract and soothes sore airways so that breathing is easier. 
In fact, Prospan Chesty Cough is clinically proven  to relieve chesty coughs two times faster in 7 days vs 14 days left untreated. 

The benefits of EA 575® have been demonstrated in studies involving more than 65,000 adults and children. In just one week, 93% of patients taking Prospan experienced improved cough symptoms and reduced chest mucus, and 91% experienced improved breathing symptoms.

When choosing a medicine, always read the label and follow the directions for use. 

Other natural methods to help clear a chesty cough

Along with using a cough formula, there are a few other ways to relieve chesty cough symptoms at home.

  • Humidify the air

    Colder temperatures outdoors and higher temperatures indoors can dry out the air, making it more difficult to cough up mucus. A humidifier can increase moisture levels in the air by releasing water vapour or steam, but a steamy shower can help as well. 

  • Try manuka honey

    Honey has long been used to relieve upper respiratory tract infections, and there is plenty of evidence to support its use. Honey has antimicrobial properties, and has been shown to help relieve acute cough in children.  

    Don’t give honey to children aged under a year old unless advised by your healthcare professional. 

  • Use a herbal chest rub

    Topical balms or ointments made with aromatic essential oils such as eucalyptus and menthol can help to relieve chest congestion.  Known as ‘vapour rubs’, these balms can be massaged into the chest to help reduce inflammation and improve breathing.

Can you clear a chesty cough overnight?

It’s unlikely that your chesty cough will disappear over night as it takes time for your body to recover from a virus. However, using a cough formula such as Prospan can help to relieve your discomfort and support faster healing. 



01 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6502102

02 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK458291/

03 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19145994/

04 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8275562/#CR9

05 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20976077/

06 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6513626/

07 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9354706/

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