The best over the counter cough medicines

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Our resident pharmacist recommends the best over-the-counter medicines for a persistent cough.

By Rita Ghelani

Can’t shake that nasty cough? A cough is a reflex brought on by irritation of the respiratory lining in the lungs, windpipe and throat. It’s the body’s way of removing the irritation and while a persistent cough can be frustrating and uncomfortable, it’s usually not related to anything more serious.

A cough is often associated with the symptoms of cold or flu. It can last for over a week and is often the last symptom to clear up after a chest infection. There are two main types of cough – a chesty cough or dry tickly cough.

Coughs usually clear up on their own, however there are a number of medicines that can help to ease the symptoms. Our resident pharmacist Rita Ghelani recommends the following over-the-counter medicines:

Chesty Coughs

A chesty cough occurs as a result of too much mucus being produced, which may be thick and difficult to cough up. Using medicines containing active ingredients such as guaifenesin, ipecacuanha, ammonium chloride and squill can help to break up any excess mucus that may have accumulated. These ingredients are known as expectorants.

Medicines for chesty cough

Benylin Chesty Coughs

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Covonia Chesty Cough mixture

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Robitussin Chesty Cough

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Benylin Mucus Cough

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Dry Coughs

For a dry tickly cough, an over the counter medicine containing a cough suppressant to block the natural coughing reflex, such as pholcodine and dextromethorphan, should help.

Medicines for dry coughs

Benylin Dry Coughs syrup

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Covonia Original Balsam

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Robitussin Dry Cough

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Glycerin, Honey & Lemon linctus

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Natural cough remedies

If you’re still not feeling better, these at-home remedies should alleviate the symptoms of a persistent cough:

  • Drink plenty of fluids: hot drinks made with honeyand lemon can soothe a cough.
  • Stream inhalation:try doing some stream to loosen up mucus in your airways.
  • Suck a lozenge or cough sweet:this will keep the back of the throat moist.
  • Use supplements:zinc, vitamin C and echinacea can boost your immune system.
  • Gargle warm salt water: this should help clear away viruses and bacteria at the back of the throat.

 

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