Cough medicine can come in three forms: suppressants, expectorants, and topical ointments. Cough suppressants, also called antitussives, work by suppressing the cough reflex and are commonly prescribed to those who are having trouble sleeping due to coughing. Cough suppressants shouldn’t be used to treat cough caused by the following: asthma, emphysema, and smoking. On the other hand, cough expectorants make it easier to expel the phlegm or sputum by thinning and loosening the mucus and increasing the expulsion of this mucus through the air passages of the lungs. Cough expectorants can clear congestion, but these shouldn’t be used for prolonged periods. Lastly, topical cough medicines, which can be creams or ointments, are often applied to the throat and chest area, or released into the air through steam vaporizers and inhaled. Cough medicine shouldn’t be used for more than seven days.
Cough medicine that can be bought over the counter usually combines suppressants and expectorants. Aside from coughing, these medicines can be used to relieve colds and body aches. However, before taking cough medicine, one should first look at the ingredients and ensure it doesn’t interfere with other medication. One should be particularly careful with combination medicines. Other natural cough remedies include honey which can also treat sore throats, yoghurts and fortified milk filled with probiotic microorganisms, pineapples, peppermint leaves, eucalyptus oil, and thyme.
There are different ways one can prevent getting cough. Firstly and most importantly, one should make sure to get their annual flu shots. Secondly, one should avoid those who have cold or influenza. Thirdly, one should remember the importance of good hygiene and always wash their hands. Fourthly, if possible, one should avoid smoke and second-hand smoke by steering clear of smokers. Lastly, one should increase their intake of fluids and always drink lots of water.