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Coughing is your body's way of getting foreign substances and
mucus out of your
lungs and upper airway passages. Coughs are often useful, and you should not try
to stop them. Sometimes, though, coughs are severe enough to make
breathing difficult, cause vomiting, or prevent rest. Home treatment can help
you feel more comfortable when you have a cough.
There is not
enough evidence to determine whether cough medicines work.1 But some people may find them useful. Avoid cold
remedies that combine medicines to treat many symptoms. It is generally
better to treat each symptom separately. There are two kinds of cough
medicines: expectorants and suppressants.
If you have sore muscles from coughing a lot, have someone massage
your chest and back muscles a few times each day. Massage can reduce soreness
and help you rest and relax better.
For more information about medicine safety, see the topics Over-the-Counter Medicine Precautions and Quick Tips: Giving Over-the-Counter Medicines to Children.
Wark P (2011). Bronchitis, search date March 2010. BMJ Clinical Evidence. Available online: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.
July 10, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Robert L. Cowie, MB, FCP(SA), MD, MSc, MFOM - Pulmonology
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