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Old 04-12-2018, 08:01 AM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,661 posts, read 4,281,666 times
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Every time I get a cold and deal with a couple weeks of that dry, itchy cough I wonder about this. There are cough medicines in pill and liquid form that claim to sooth the irritation that causes the cough, but none of them ever help at all. It makes me wonder how they are supposed to work- the liquids, for example, may coat the throat but they don't touch the part that actually is irritated causing the cough- because that seems to be in the trachea, not the throat. It seems to me medicine in inhaler form would be necessary to really get to the area that is irritated to apply any treatment. Does such a thing exist? I had read about some people getting prescribed an asthma inhaler in these situations for effective relief- is that really the best treatment?
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Old 04-12-2018, 08:15 AM
 
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If your lungs are irritated, a humidifer works best of all, in my opinion. You need humidity or steam to counter the dryness in your throat and chest and loosen up whatever is rattling around in there.

You could certainly ask a doctor about an inhaler.

For a tickling cough in the throat, a spoonful of honey works just as well if not better than expensive cough syrups.

Last edited by saibot; 04-12-2018 at 08:57 AM..
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Old 04-12-2018, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
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It helps to understand what is in any given cough syrup and how your body reacts to it and what you need. Other than syrup and alcohol, the concoctions are the same as various cold or flue pills and/or distinctions. There are only so many cold symptom chemicals available over the counter, probably less than a dozen certainly less than two dozen and almost all cold remedies pill or syrup boil down to about five different drugs. I have discovered one drug, I think it is an expectorant, makes my sinuses run like a faucet. Guaranteed to keep me up all night drowning.

The cough syrups have a bit of extra punch because your body absorbs the liquid a bit faster and the alcohol calms your mind including the cough reflex.

Just be aware they treat symptoms only and do nothing to make you better. Some can make you a lot worse depending on how you react to them. Some can help you get a nights sleep, so you get better faster.

You need to know the different types of pain killers, and the different types of antihistamines, decongestants, expectorants, and cough suppressants. Once you understand what each of these types to treatment chemicals do, it is easy to figure out which pill or syrup will help the most. You will also be able o figure out whether the concoction will make you sleepy to otherwise impact your mental clarity.

As to whether you take a pill or syrup the primary difference is whether you want the shot of alcohol. The other chemicals are the same.

The alcohol in cough syrup is not enough to make most people drunk although it can make some people a bit drowsy. It should not show up on a breathalyzer test, at least not a couple of hours after taking it (I took some DayQuil Severe Cold and Flu syrup at noon yesterday and had a random drug test and breathalyzer at 2. I blew 0.00. So it is not that strong or large amount of alcohol.


When I was in college I used to make my own cough syrup. It was heated whiskey, honey, lemon and peppermint schnapps. That worked to suppress a cough and let you sleep too, but it does not qualify in the "not make you drunk" department. Of Course it has not medication it, but the Honey seemed to soothe your throat and a hot booze calmed a cough down pretty well. The Schnapps would sometimes clear your sinuses temporarily.
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Old 04-12-2018, 01:58 PM
 
Location: on the wind
2,302 posts, read 776,756 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jm31828 View Post
I had read about some people getting prescribed an asthma inhaler in these situations for effective relief- is that really the best treatment?
Asthma inhaler meds act by relaxing bronchial muscle, by dilating airways or reducing inflammation in your lungs. They aren't intended to dull your cough reflex or numb/sooth a scratchy throat even though the medication is delivered through your mouth. FWIW, I find drinking more water, using an OTC product that reduces mucus, and maybe adding an expectorant help me get over coughs faster. They help the action of coughing get rid of the stuff instead of reducing your reaction to it.
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Old 04-12-2018, 03:12 PM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonHB View Post
Asthma inhaler meds act by relaxing bronchial muscle, by dilating airways or reducing inflammation in your lungs. They aren't intended to dull your cough reflex or numb/sooth a scratchy throat even though the medication is delivered through your mouth. FWIW, I find drinking more water, using an OTC product that reduces mucus, and maybe adding an expectorant help me get over coughs faster. They help the action of coughing get rid of the stuff instead of reducing your reaction to it.
Thanks for the info. I guess my point was that these are different types of cough- they are not the ones that produce anything- they are dry coughs, only happening because of the itchy feeling in the trachea. I only asked about the inhaler because I had read a thread on another website where people had mentioned doctors prescribing it in some cases since the only cause was inflammation/irritation. I had never heard of this treatment before.
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Old 04-12-2018, 04:42 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
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Some meds like stuff for BP can cause an intermittent dry cough.
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Old 04-15-2018, 06:41 PM
 
Location: Cebu, Philippines
1,309 posts, read 361,224 times
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The short answer is that it would depend on the cause of the cough.

After supper, and occasionally at other times, I get a loose congestion in my throat that requres me to cough it out, or more often a strong and loud clearing of the throat. Sometimes it clears by itself, but if it doesn't, I take about a drop of cheap OTC syrup, slosh it around it in mouth a few seconds, and gradually allow myself to swallow the pungent saliva. It works fine for me.
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Old 04-16-2018, 06:19 PM
 
2,021 posts, read 786,473 times
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In many cases, the problem is likely something like dry mouth, which causes your normal mucus to thicken as it goes down and makes you cough. Usually what works best for me is just drinking hot tea throughout the day along with nasal spray. If you don’t actually have any chest congestion, then cough medicine isn’t going to be particularly helpful.
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:36 PM
Status: "Springtime in the Rockies" (set 18 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
82,792 posts, read 95,236,514 times
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Honey has been found to work as well as Dextromethorphan.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-...y/faq-20058031
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Old 04-17-2018, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Wine Country
4,408 posts, read 5,461,565 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katarina Witt View Post
Honey has been found to work as well as Dextromethorphan.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-...y/faq-20058031
My mother used to make a honey and lemon juice mixture for my coughing. It worked well enough for me to do that for my kids.
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