When we are bothered by cough, some of us have the natural tendency to instantly pop an antibiotic or drink cough syrup without consulting the doctor. Though there are no serious effects of drinking the wrong medicine for cough, it can be a waste of money because it may not be the right treatment for that particular ailment.
Coughs have so many different causes, in a majority of cases it is caused by a virus. In such situations cough is usually coupled with other symptoms such as fever or colds. There are other causes such as infections, asthma, and excessive smoking.
There is, however, no quick fix to a cough. In almost all cases even after drinking medicine, the cough may persist for a couple more days. But that isn’t reason to not treat cough to help ease the irritating feeling. Here are some suggested treatments:
Cough Suppressants for Dry Cough and Itchy throat – usually the first few days of the cough is just dry and itchy. for this kind of cough, the most common cough suppressant is Dextromethorphan (DM), which helps ease cough by suppressing the cough reflex so that the “tickle the troat” feeling won’t trigger coughing. This medicine is not advisable if cough is productive or phlegmy. For further information, always seek your doctor’s professional opinion.
Expectorants for Phlegmy Cough– it loosens thick mucous so that you can cough it up easier. Less phlegm means less coughing. Some over-the-counter medicine for phlegmy cough include Ambroxol, Bromhexine and Carbocisteine. Often, taking lots of fluids is enough.
Lozenges – these are good for sore throat or for pregnant women who don’t like to drink medicine but need some kind of comfort.
Camphor / Menthol / Vapor Rub – these medicines are considered as topical cough medicines because they are not ingested, they are merely applied on the skin. The word “topical” also means that you can use them on a need-of-the-moment basis. For example you may inhale camphor to help unblock a clogged nose, or apply some on your throat for a soothing feeling.
Though coughing is one of the most common ailments of the body, it’s not always a bad thing. Coughing is actually our system’s way of removing unwanted or foreign substances, such as mucus, from our airway passages. Expectorating phlegm when you cough is actually considered a productive cough.
On a final note, like any disease, prevention is better than cure. Prevent your body from contracting cough by drinking lots of fluids and vitamin C – and by fluids we don’t mean Coke or any other soda. Also, don’t forget your sleep and when you have cough get lots of it, sleep I mean.