Many people turn to cough medicine when dealing with a nasty cough. Often, the cough is connected to common cold and flu symptoms, and may prevent the individual from getting the rest needed to regain health. However, there are several important points to consider before reaching for the first cough medicine you come across at the drugstore.
Unfortunately, not everyone is aware of the fact that over-the-counter medications can sometimes trigger a negative interaction with herbs and prescription medications. Rather than making the situation easier to manage, adding the cough medicine to the mix only makes matters worse. Before buying any type of cough syrup or cough drop throat lozenges, check with your doctor to determine if there is the chance for a negative interaction with any of the prescription medications you currently take.
It is also important to recognize that not every cough medicine is formulated to address every root cause for the cough. Some are formulated as antitussives or cough suppressants. They do nothing to address the origin of the coughing, but simply block the reflex to cough. While antitussives may be helpful in getting an uninterrupted night’s rest, they provide nothing more than temporary relief.
By contrast, expectorants help to thin out mucus that often builds up during the course of a cold or flu. By thinning the mucus, it is easier for the body to expel the substance during the course of coughing. As there is less mucus buildup to trigger the coughing fits, the urge to cough begins to subside. If this is your goal, it is important to select a cough medicine that is an expectorant.
Keep in mind that many brands of cough medicine include other medications that are designed to relieve a host of symptoms. Many contain general pain relievers, antihistamines, and decongestants. If you happen to be allergic to any of these compounds, the cough medicine is likely to do more harm than good.
In many cases, coughing will subside when the root causes for the action are diagnosed and treated. For this reason, it may not be necessary to take a cough medicine at all. Should the cough persist, make an appointment with your doctor. During the course of the visit, find out what types of cough medicine you should take, if any. Your physician can take into consideration any allergies or prescription or over-the-counter medications you currently take and provide you with suggestions for products you can take safely.