- Finding Relief for Your Cough Slideshow
- Take the Cold & Flu Quiz
- Cold & Flu Slideshow: Treating Your Child's Cold or Fever
- Got a cold and need something for a nagging cough?
- What cough medicine stops a hacking cough fast?
- What is the most common expectorant to stop a cough with phlegm and mucus?
- What natural topical remedies help stop a cough?
- What is a combination cold and cough medicine?
- Is cough medicine safe?
- What medications interact with cold and cough medicine?
Got a cold and need something for a nagging cough?
- expectorants, and
- ointments you apply to your skin called topicals.
What cough medicine stops a hacking cough fast?
Suppressants do their job by blocking your cough reflex. Dextromethorphan is the most common ingredient for this. You'll see it listed as DM on the bottle or package. This type of medication isn't used to treat a cough with mucus. And it can't relieve pain like the medicine codeine - you'll need a doctor's prescription for cough meds with that in it.
What is the most common expectorant to stop a cough with phlegm and mucus?
A cough with phlegm can be a good thing -- it clears all the gunk from your airways. But talk to your doctor if it keeps you from sleeping.
Cough suppressants relieve your cough by blocking the cough reflex. Dextromethorphan, or DM, is the most common cough suppressant. Dextromethorphan does not have the pain-relieving and addictive properties of codeine, a narcotic cough suppressant that requires a doctor's prescription.
Some doctors say drinking water is the best way to get rid of mucus, but you can also use medications like guaifenesin. This drug thins the drainage so it's easier to move out. The most frequent side effect of this med is nausea and vomiting. If you have a dry, hacking cough, dextromethorphan may give you relief. Generally, these cough syrups and cough medicines are not used to suppress a cough where you cough up mucus. A productive cough helps clear secretions and mucus from the airways. Talk to your doctor if you have a productive cough that's preventing you from sleeping.
What natural topical remedies help stop a cough?
Camphor and menthol are natural treatments. They usually come in an ointment you rub on your throat and chest. Their strong-smelling vapors may ease your cough and open up your stuffy head. You can also get them in liquid form to use with a vaporizer, a gadget that makes steam you can breathe in. You'll find menthol in lozenges and compressed tablets.
What is a combination cold and cough medicine?
Many over-the-counter treatments mix a suppressant and expectorant with medicines for other symptoms. That could include;
- decongestants, and
- pain relievers.
The mash-up can be a good thing if you have a range of cold symptoms, like body aches, coughs, and congestion. The downside is that you may get medicine you don't need.
Is cough medicine safe?
Many OTC cold and cough syrups and cough medicines contain a cough suppressant (dextromethorphan) plus an expectorant (guaifenesin) along with other cold medicines and pain relievers.
Combination cold and cough medicine may contain an;
- decongestant, and
- pain reliever in addition to the cough suppressant and/or expectorant.
Combination medicines may give optimal relief if you have multiple cold symptoms, such as;
- body aches,
- coughs, and
The downside of the combination cold medicines is that you may be taking medication that you don't need, depending on your symptoms.
The doctor may tell you not to treat a cough from a cold unless it keeps you up at night or gets in the way of your daily life. Coughing up mucus helps keep your lungs clear. This is especially true if you smoke or have asthma or emphysema.
The most important key is to understand how the cough syrup or cough medicine works. That includes knowing what the side effects are. Then talk to your doctor if you have concerns about your cough or cough medicine. Trust your doctor to make the best decision with your overall health in mind.
What medications interact with cold and cough medicine?
Dextromethorphan can interact with many medicines including:
- Antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as:
- Serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as venlafaxine (Effexor) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI).
- Do not take dextromethorphan if you are on other medication unless cleared by your doctor.
- Moreover, some combination cold and cough medicines contain decongestants.
- If you have high blood pressure or heart disease, avoid taking these drugs.
- Decongestants can raise blood pressure.
Latest Cold and Flu News
Daily Health News
Cough medicine and cough syrups can be taken to relieve a cough. Some people should not take cough medicine or cough syrups, for example, those taking SSRI antidepressants, and those with high blood pressure or heart disease. Cough suppressants relieve a cough by blocking the cough reflex. Cough expectorants thins mucus, so a person can cough mucus up easier. Often, a combination of a cold and cough medicine are necessary.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu
What natural remedies work for the flu and common cold? Many claim cold symptoms and flu symptoms can be relieved with Echinacea,...
Nasal Irrigation: Natural Relief for Cold & Allergy Symptoms
Clogged sinuses and congestion bothering you? Nasal irrigation can relieve sinus symptoms associated with colds and allergies....
What Is Asthma? Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
What is asthma? Learn information about asthma, a chronic disease of the bronchiole tubes. Discover information about asthma...
Cold and Flu: Finding Relief for Your Cough
Remedies for coughing to relieve symptoms, thin mucus, and clear phlegm include cough syrup and honey in hot water. Use...
How to Prevent the Common Cold
The common cold is arguably the most common human illness. Learn how long the common cold lasts, treatment for the common cold...
Bronchitis Symptoms and Treatments
Is bronchitis contagious? Learn about bronchitis, an inflammation of the lining of the lungs. Bronchitis can be aggravated from...
Asthma Attacks: Triggers, Symptoms, and Treatment
Asthma symptoms include coughing, wheezing, headache, fatigue, dark circles under the eyes, trouble sleeping, and loss of...
Smoking Quiz: How to Quit Smoking
You know it's time you quit smoking. Learn the myths and facts about quitting smoking with the Smoking Quiz. When it comes to...
Common Cold Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Take this quiz to learn the truth behind the infectious, contagious, uncomfortable disease known as the common cold. Test your...
Asthma Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways of the lungs, which can be managed with proper treatment. Triggered by two main...
What happens within the body when a person develops bronchitis? Take this quick quiz to learn the causes, symptoms, treatments,...
What is Asthma? Asthma Myths Debunked
There is currently no cure for asthma, and no specific, single cause for asthma has been identified. Take this quiz on asthma...
How to Quit Smoking: 13 Tips to End Addiction
One of the best ways to improve your health is to quit smoking. These practical tips to help you quit smoking have been shown to...
Picture of Bronchitis
Acute bronchitis usually comes on quickly and gets better after several weeks. See a picture of Acute Bronchitis and learn more...
Worst Smog Cities in Pictures: Air Pollution, Ozone, and Asthma
Learn the worst smog cities in America. See the 10 cities with the most polluted, unclean and smoggy air.
Germs: Everyday Items with the Most Bacteria
Explore the germiest places you may encounter daily. Bacteria is everywhere. Learn tips to avoid germs and bacteria in public...
Related Disease Conditions
Cough: 19 Tips on How to Stop a Cough
Coughing is a reflex that helps a person clear their airways of irritants. There are many causes of an excessive or severe cough including irritants like cigarette and secondhand smoke, pollution, air fresheners, medications like beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, the common cold, GERD, lung cancer, and heart disease.Natural and home remedies to help cure and soothe a cough include stay hydrated, gargle saltwater, use cough drops or lozenges, use herbs and supplements like ginger, mint, licorice, and slippery elm, and don't smoke. Over-the-counter products (OTC)to cure and soothe a cough include cough suppressants and expectorants, and anti-reflux drugs. Prescription drugs that help cure a cough include narcotic medications, antibiotics, inhaled steroids, and anti-reflux drugs like proton pump inhibitors or PPIs, for example, omeprazole (Prilosec), rabeprazole (Aciphex), and pantoprazole (Protonix).
The common cold (viral upper respiratory tract infection) is a contagious illness that may be caused by various viruses. Symptoms include a stuffy nose, headache, cough, sore throat, and maybe a fever. Antibiotics have no effect upon the common cold, and there is no evidence that zinc and vitamin C are effective treatments.
Chronic cough is a cough that does not go away and is generally a symptom of another disorder such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, sinus infection, cigarette smoking, GERD, postnasal drip, bronchitis, pneumonia, medications, and less frequently tumors or other lung disease. Chronic cough treatment is based on the cause, but may be soothed natural and home remedies.
Smoker's Lung: Pathology Photo Essay
Smoker's lung photo essay is a collection of pictures and microscopic slides of lung disease caused by cigarette smoking. Smoker's lung refers to the diseases and structural abnormalities in the lung caused by cigarette smoking.
Hookahs vs. Cigarette Smoking (Addiction and Health Dangers)
A hookah is a water pipe that's used to smoke flavored tobacco like watermelon, licorice, coconut, chocolate, cherry, mint, apple, and cappuccino. The use of this type of tobacco smoking began in ancient India and Persia centuries ago. You can find Hookah cafes all over the world, for example, the US, France, Russia, Britain, and the Middle East. New forms of electronic hookah are now available. Some people who smoke tobacco think that hookahs are less dangerous to their health because the smoke is filtered through water, but the smoke from Hookahs contain the same cancer-causing chemicals that cigarette smoke does. Smoking tobacco via cigarettes or hookah are both dangerous to your health.
Asthma is a condition in which hyperreactive airways constrict and result in symptoms like wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. Causes of asthma include genetics, environmental factors, personal history of allergies, and other factors. Asthma is diagnosed by a physician based on a patient's family history and results from lung function tests and other exams. Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and long-acting bronchodilators (LABAs) are used in the treatment of asthma. Generally, the prognosis for a patient with asthma is good. Exposure to allergens found on farms may protect against asthma symptoms.
Asthma: Over the Counter Treatment
Patients who have infrequent, mild bouts of asthma attacks may use over-the-counter (OTC) medications to treat their asthma symptoms. OTC asthma medicines are limited to epinephrine and ephedrine. These OTC drugs are best used with the guidance of a physician, as there may be side effects and the drugs may not be very effective.
COPD vs. Emphysema
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the term doctors and other healthcare professionals use to describe a group of serious, progressive (worsens over time), chronic lung diseases that include emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and sometimes asthma. The number one cause of COPD or emphysema, is smoking, and smoking is the third leading cause of death in the US.
Emphysema is a COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) that often occurs with other obstructive pulmonary problems and chronic bronchitis. Causes of emphysema include chronic cigarette smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, air pollution, and in the underdeveloped parts of the world. Symptoms of emphysema include chronic cough, chest discomfort, breathlessness, and wheezing. Treatments include medication and lifestyle changes.
Bronchitis (Acute) Contagoius Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Recovery Time
Bronchitis is inflammation of the airways in the lung. Acute bronchitis is is short in duration (10 to 20 days) in comparison with chronic bronchitis, which lasts for months to years. Causes of acute bronchitis include viruses and bacteria, which means it can be contagious. Acute bronchitis caused by environmental factors such as pollution or cigarette smoke is not contagious. Common symptoms for acute bronchitis include nasal congestion, cough, headache, sore throat, muscle aches, and fatigue. Acute bronchitis in children also my include runny nose, fever, and chest pain. Treatment for acute bronchitis are OTC pain relievers, cough suppressants (although not recommended in children), and rest. Infrequently antibiotics may be prescribed to treat acute bronchitis.
Chronic Bronchitis (Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Remedies)
Chronic bronchitis is a cough that occurs daily with production of sputum that lasts for at least three months, two years in a row. Causes of chronic bronchitis include cigarette smoking, inhaled irritants, and underlying disease processes (such as asthma, or congestive heart failure). Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Treatments include bronchodilators and steroids. Complications of chronic bronchitis include COPD and emphysema.
Lung Anatomy (Structure and Function)
The lungs are primarily responsible for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the air we breathe and the blood. Eliminating carbon dioxide from the blood is important, because as it builds up in the blood, headaches, drowsiness, coma, and eventually death may occur. The air we breathe in (inhalation) is warmed, humidified, and cleaned by the nose and the lungs.
Cold and Cough Medicine for Infants and Children
The safety of giving infants and children over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medicine is important for caregivers to understand. While there is no "gold standard" recommendation for giving infants and children OTC cold and cough medicine for fever, aches, cough, and runny nose, a few standards have been recommended. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that OTC cold and cough medicine only be used in children age four years and older. The American College of Chest Physicians recommend that these medicines only be used in children age 15 years and older. The FDA recommends that OTC cold and cough medicine be used in children 2 years of age and older. However, there is agreement in regard to which OTC medications should not be used in children under the age of four (or the age of two, depending upon which guidelines are used), and they are 1) certain antihistamines like brompheniramine, chlorpheniramine maleate, and diphenhydramine (Benadryl); 2) cough expectorants (guaifenesin); 3) cough suppressants (dextromethorphan, DM); and 4) decongestants (pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine). Aspirin should never be given to infants, children, and adolescents due to the possibility of a rare, but often severe and even fatal illness called Reye's syndrome. REFERENCES:FDA. "Most Young Children with a Cough or Cold Don't Need Medicines." July 18, 2017. FDA. "Use Caution When Giving Cough and Cold Products to Kids." Updated: Nov 04, 2016.
Fever and Headache
Illnesses, diseases, conditions, and infections like cancer, RA, bacterial and fungal infections, encephalitis, meningitis, flu, and colds can cause a headache and fever. Associated symptoms and signs include rash, nausea and vomiting, cough, sweating, neck stiffness, seizure, decreased appetite, and joint pain and swelling. Treatment depends upon the cause but may include antibiotics, antifungal or antiviral drugs, pain-control drugs, decongestants, and cough suppressants.
There are two types of asthma medications: long-term control with anti-inflammatory drugs and quick relief from bronchodilators. Asthma medicines may be inhaled using a metered-dose inhaler or nebulizer or they may be taken orally. People with high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease, or heart disease shouldn't take OTC asthma drugs like Primatene Mist and Bronkaid.
Smoking (How to Quit Smoking)
Smoking is an addiction. More than 430,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. from smoking related illnesses. Secondhand smoke or "passive smoke" also harm family members, coworkers, and others around smokers. There are a number of techniques available to assist people who want to quit smoking.
Is a Cough Contagious?
There are many types of coughs: for example, dry cough, wet cough, a barking cough, whooping cough, stress induced cough, acute cough, and chronic cough. Cough is a symptom of an underlying condition or disease. Treatment of cough as a symptom is generally with OTC lozenges and liquids. The cause of the cough will be necessary to treat.
Cold, Flu, Allergy Treatments
Before treating a cold, the flu, or allergies with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, it's important to know what's causing the symptoms, which symptoms one wishes to relieve, and the active ingredients in the OTC product. Taking products that only contain the medications needed for relieving your symptoms prevents ingestion of unnecessary medications and reduces the chances of side effects.
Diabetes and Safe Medications for Colds and the Flu: OTC Medication Guide
If you have diabetes and catch a cold or the flu, can be more difficult to recover from infections and their complications, for example, pneumonia. Home remedies and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs used for the treatment of the signs and symptoms of colds and the flu may affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.Some medications are OK to take if you have diabetes get a cold or the flu include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin) to control symptoms of fever and pain. Most cough syrups are safe to take; however, check with your pediatrician to see what medications are safe to give your child if he or she has type 1 or 2 diabetes. If you have diabetes and are sick with a cold or flu, you need to check your blood sugar levels more frequently. Continue taking your regular medications. Eat a diabetic low-glycemic index diet rich in antioxidants. To prevent colds and the flu drink at least eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day. To replenish fluids, drink sports drinks like Gatorade and Pedialyte to replenish electrolytes. Avoid people who are sick, sneezing, coughing, or have other symptoms of a cold or flu.
Asthma in Children
Asthma in children manifests with symptoms such as coughing and wheezing. Rates of asthma in children are increasing. Asthma in children is usually diagnosed based on the description of symptoms. Lung function tests may also be used. A variety of medications are used for the treatment of childhood asthma.
Children's Cough Causes and Treatments
Children's cough causes include infection, acid reflux, asthma, allergies or sinus infection, whooping cough, and exposure to irritants. Treatment for a child's cough include cough medicine for children over the age of four.
Cold vs. Flu
Though the common cold and flu share many signs and symptoms, they are caused by different viruses. Signs and symptoms include sneezing, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue, and cough. Treatment options for the cold and flu are similar and focus on reducing symptoms. Doctors may prescribe antivirals/neuraminidase inhibitors for the flu.
Adult-onset asthma is asthma that is diagnosed in people over 20 years of age. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Treatment may involve anti-inflammatory medications or bronchodilators.
Occupational asthma is a type of asthma caused by exposure to a substance in the workplace. Symptoms and signs include wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. The usual treatment for occupational asthma involves removal from exposure and the use of bronchodilators and inhaled anti-inflammatory medicines.
Exercise-induced asthma is asthma triggered by vigorous exercise. Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, and fatigue while exercising. Preventing exercise-induced asthma attacks involves using inhaled medicines before exercising, performing warm-up exercises and cooling down afterward, avoiding exercising outdoors when pollen counts are high, restricting exercise when you have a viral infection, and wearing a mask over your nose and mouth when exercising in cold weather.
Emphysema, Chronic Bronchitis, and Colds
If you have a COPD such as emphysema, avoiding chronic bronchitis and colds is important to avoid a more severe respiratory infection such as pneumonia. Avoiding cigarette smoking, practice good hygeine, stay away from crowds, and alerting your healthcare provider if you have a sinus infection or cold or cough that becomes worse. Treatment options depend upon the severity of the emphysema, bronchitis, or cold combination.
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
- Tramadol vs. Codeine
- Oxycodone vs. Codeine
- codeine (for Pain)
- Antihistamines (Oral)
- guaifenesin/antitussive/decongestant/antihistamine - oral
- guaifenesin/dextromethorphan/decongestant - oral
- promethazine/phenylephrine/codeine - oral
- guaifenesin/decongestant/antihistamine - oral
- acetaminophen/codeine - oral, Tylenol-Codeine No.3, Tylenol-
- promethazine/codeine syrup - oral, Phenergan w/ codeine
- Codeine vs. Vicodin
- OTC Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers
- promethazine and codeine, Phenergan with Codeine
- decongestant/antihistamine/anticholinergic - oral
- guaifenesin and codeine (Cheratussin, Iophen)
- expectorant/decongestant/narcotic antitussive/acetaminophen-oral
- dextromethorphan/decongestant/antihistamine - oral
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.