over the counter cough medicine

Over the counter cough medicine

A cough is your body’s involuntary response to foreign material in your respiratory tract. It’s the body’s way of getting rid of mucus and other foreign substances (such as dust) from your lungs and upper air passages. In addition, a cough can also be termed as your body’s response to an airway irritation.

There are three types of coughs;

  • Acute coughs are coughs that last less than three weeks. They are very common and affect most people repeatedly. They are easy to cure.
  • Subacute coughs last between 3-8 weeks and are harder to treat. Various over the counter cough medicines are effective in improving the symptoms of this cough, though results are gradual, often taking weeks to go away.
  • Chronic coughs are more persistent coughs that last more than nine weeks. Their symptoms are more severe and cause more pain and discomfort to patients experiencing them. They are harder to treat than the other types of coughs.

Though these types of coughs have different traits, they all respond to therapy and can be treated with the same cough medicines. However, the strength and duration of the treatment may vary from one type of cough to another.

What causes coughs?

There are many conditions that cause coughs. Some are permanent conditions, while others are temporary and thus easier to treat and improve.

Here are the top causes of coughs;

  1. The need to clear your throat. Every time your throat is clogged up with foreign particles such as dust or smoke, you have to cough to get rid of these particles. Tiny amounts of these particles will not cause coughing unless they are particles that cause instant irritation such as hot pepper.
  2. Smoking. A smoker’s cough is usually a chronic cough with a very distinctive sound. This type of a cough is rarely curable and can only be treated by controlling your smoking habits.
  3. Respiratory conditions, e.g. asthma and lung disease. These types of disease are the most common causes of chronic coughing in adults. Coughing caused by these disorders is often characterized by wheezing and breathing difficulties. It is only treatable with medicine, and mostly keep reoccurring until you can control the disease causing the cough.
  4. Medicines. Coughing is a side effect of very many medications. Coughs resulting from the use of medicine are rarely chronic and mostly go away after you stop using the drug. It’s challenging to treat these coughs, and most patients just live with them. Enalapril and Zestril are examples of the numerous medicines that are known to cause coughs.
  5. Pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. Not all pathogens cause coughing. However, those that cause respiratory tract infections such as flu and common cold often have coughs as a symptom. Complications caused by flu often take longer to cure and require antibiotics.
  6. Stomach acid making its way up to the esophagus. These coughs often wake you up from your sleep. They cause discomfort for a few minutes and then they are gone. They rarely require medical treatment.
  7. Nasal discharge. Nasal discharge is caused by many factors such as allergens and viral infections. Nasal discharges lead to the urge to clear your throat, which leads most people to cough regularly.
  8. Blockage of airways by inhaled or swallowed objects. Physical materials such as food particles and pills can make their way into the air passages instead of the esophagus. This causes severe coughing but rarely requires any medicinal treatment.

Best OTC Cough Medicine

There are very many medicines on the market that can be used to treat coughs. Experts say that a cough caused by a cold will usually go away on its own without the need for medical treatment. However, there is no reliable way to know when your cold will go away on its own, so many people resort to cough medicine to speed up healing.

However, you should be aware that not all coughs should be treated with medicine. For example, coughs that come as a side effect of another drug should be treated cautiously, since the cough medicine you buy may interact with the drug that you are already taking, and this could result in more severe health complications. You can use herbal remedies to ease your discomfort but refrain from buying any cough medicine to treat your discomfort.

In addition, a cough that results from an underlying condition such as asthma or pneumonia shouldn’t be treated on its own. In such cases, it is advised that you try to treat the underlying condition first before you can try to treat your cough. However, consulting a doctor may give you clarity on whether or not you should buy cough medicine.

Types of OTC Cough Medicine

Over the counter medicines are medicines that you can buy off the shelf without a doctor’s prescription. The cough medicines available in the market today fall into two categories, antitussives and expectorants.

Expectorants loosen and clear the phlegm and mucus from your respiratory system (i.e. lungs, trachea and bronchi.) They work by thinning the mucus and breaking up any fluids that could be congesting your airways. This enhances the mobility of the mucus, making it easier for you to cough it up. Examples of expectorants include Guaifenesin, Benylin E, Mucinex and Drituss G.

Antitussives, on the other hand, are cough suppressants. They work by inhibiting the cough reflex, reducing your urge and frequency of coughing. They are better than expectorants when a cough is preventing you from sleeping, or when you are doing an activity, which coughing may interfere with, for example making a presentation. Examples of antitussives are codeine, Sucrets DM, Robitussin DM, and dextromethorphan.

Most times, you can combine these two medicines to increase the quality of your life when you are suffering from a cold or flu. You’ll cough less, and also clear your respiratory system more effectively.

Pharmaceutical vs. Natural Treatments

Apart from the medical treatments for coughs named above, you can also take natural remedies that improve your symptoms of a cough and at times help you get rid of a cough faster.

The most effective natural remedies for treating coughs are lemons, honey, flax, blend almonds, licorice root tea, thyme and ginger.

Other treatments, such as inhaling warm steam, sipping hot water or milk and gargling salt water are all ways of easing the discomfort caused by a cough. They clear up your airways or ease throat pain, allowing you to enjoy a comfortable life before the symptoms hit again and you have to take the same remedies.

Most natural remedies don’t cure coughs. They just improve the symptoms or help your body fight cough. But they don’t always work.

On the other hand, pharmaceutical treatments are much more effective in treating coughs, and not only improve the symptoms but also help your body fight the condition causing the coughing.

How to Buy Cough Medicine Over the Counter

Most of the best cough medications are not available over the counter. To buy them from a local chemist, you have to visit your doctor first, get checked up and get a prescription that you can use to buy the medicine. However, this isn’t always convenient for most people. Not with their busy schedules, limited time and a lot of chores to handle after work.

There is a solution, however. Even when you cannot buy cough medicines over the counter in your local pharmacy, there are two ways that you can purchase them without the need for a doctor’s prescription.

The first way is to buy from online pharmacies. This is probably the most convenient means of obtaining medicine over the counter. Although some cough medicines can’t be bought in the US without a prescription, there are certain countries where there is no such restriction, and even brick and mortar stores stock up on these drugs. In such countries, there are online pharmacies that can sell you the medicine, and then ship it to you within a few hours or days. Just head over to your computer, find an offshore online pharmacy and make your order today.

Alternatively, you can order the meds from overseas pharmacies. Apart from online pharmacies, you can try ordering them from an offshore chemist that ships globally. Also, you can buy the meds yourself while on a trip to a country where cough meds are available over the counter.

Generic Tessalon Benzonatate

Benzonatate is a cough medicine that numbs the lungs and throat, inhibiting the cough reflex. This thus reduces the urge and frequency of coughing. It is used in the treatment of coughs caused by common cold and other respiratory diseases (such as pneumonia, asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis).

Benzonatate comes in the form of capsules that should be taken orally, with or without food. The capsules should be taken three times every day, with the standard dose being 200 mg per intake. Don’t take more than 600 mg of benzonatate in a day, as that constitutes an overdose. Also, you shouldn’t break the capsule before swallowing it. Breaking it could lead to serious health complications such as severe numbness of the mouth, tongue, and throat, dizziness, and headaches. Seek medical attention if the numbness persists or becomes unbearable.

Don’t use benzonatate if you are allergic to it, or to any other topical numbing medications (e.g. Procaine). Signs of an allergic reaction to benzonatate include severe itching/skin rashes, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and fainting. Switch to another cough medicine should you notice that you are allergic to benzonatate.

Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are advised not to use benzonatate unless a doctor deems it necessary. Try to replace it with another cough medicine if you need to treat your cough. In addition, benzonatate has been linked to severe dizziness, as such, don’t use benzonatate if you operate heavy machinery or before driving.

Possible side effects that you may experience after taking benzonatate include a choking feeling, hallucinations and confusion, fainting, chest pain, numbness of the skin, dizziness and drowsiness, skin rashes and itching, headaches, nausea and vomiting.

These side effects are rare and usually go away on their own without any complications – unless you are allergic to benzonatate or have taken an overdose. Signs of an overdose include headaches, severe dizziness, nausea, vomiting and hallucinations/confusion. Contact your doctor immediately you notice these effects of an overdose, or when you take more than the recommended capsules in one go.

Benzonatate interacts with medicines such as anti-seizure drugs, sleep medications, anxiety meds, muscle relaxants, psychiatric medicines (e.g. risperidone and trazodone), antihistamines and narcotic pain relievers.

Although they don’t affect the effectiveness of benzonatate, drugs that cause dizziness may be detrimental to your work and personal life. Since benzonatate already causes drowsiness and dizziness, taking any other medicines that induce the same effects may leave you unable to work or lead to uncontrollable urges to sleep. It can also lead to fainting in some cases. Avoid such substances while you are using benzonatate to treat your cough.

In a Nutshell

Choosing an over the counter cough medicine is very easy. With many guides like this one around the internet, you shouldn’t make a mistake when choosing the right medicine for your specific needs.

Compliment your knowledge by taking advantage of user reviews in online pharmacies before you make a purchase. Customer reviews can tell you which medicine is popular among the buyers, which has worked for most people and which one works in a timely manner. The user reviews can be found when you are browsing the available drugs in most online pharmacies.

As a cautionary note, you should be vigilant when choosing an online chemist to buy from. There are very many websites on the internet that pose as legitimate online pharmacies, but they either take you your money and don’t ship the medicine, or they send you low-quality meds. You can spot scammers by their overly low prices and their lack of customer reviews. Only stick to pharmacies that have been used by other people since that assures you that they will ship you the medicine.

With all this information, don’t let your cough lower the quality of your life. Browse for an online pharmacy today and buy the best over the counter cough medicine that will help you improve your condition and treat your cough.

Tags: What causes coughs, Best OTC Cough Medicine, Types of OTC Cough Medicine, Pharmaceutical vs. Natural Treatments, How to Buy Cough Medicine Over the Counter, Generic Tessalon Benzonatate, In a Nutshell