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Is cough medicine helpful?

 Dr. Kathleen Handal, MD
Emergency Medicine
YES & NO! TRULY follow this carefully:

YES- if it suppresses cough from allergy/inflammation/irritation SO you can finally sleep.
YES- if it thins the mucus that is being over produced in response to infection or allergy.
YES- if there is no mucus in your lungs and it is just 'reactive airway swelling causing you to cough.

B U T

NO-if you have allot sputum down in your lungs that an infection keeps producing and is blocking getting enough oxygen into your lungs-then  NO if the cough medicine has a narcotic to suppresses your reflex to get it up and out!  
This is a very interesting question.  Several studies that have recently been completed actually show that cough medicine is not all that helpful.  Most of the cough syrups that contain antihistamines and codiene, mainly work by making the patient feel tired enough that they don't know they are coughing.  The cough continues, but they just don't know it.  Traditional treatments with honey and tea seem to be just as effective and much safer.

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