The Best Cough Medicine for Common Colds

By Dr. Pallavi Sharma

Table of Contents


Coughing is a normal part of the physical process of breathing, but it can also signal other problems. Most cases of coughing are caused by a cold or flu, but it’s also possible to have dry coughs or a tickling sensation in the throat.

When you cough, your body uses air to wash out mucus and other secretions from your lungs. When you’re not getting enough oxygen, coughing can cause shortness of breath and wheezing.

It can be caused by irritation in your throat, which can lead to more severe conditions like pneumonia. If you’re experiencing a cough that lasts longer than five days or seems to be causing you pain, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor.

Types of Cough Medicine

Do you feel like your cough is getting worse every day? You’re not alone! Fortunately, there are many different ways to treat a cough. One of the best ways is with medicine.

Have you been suffering from a cold or flu? Cough medicine helps to reduce the severity of the symptoms and makes it easier to breathe. It works by reducing inflammation in your respiratory tract, which prevents sneezing and coughing.

But not all medicines are created equal. Some can cause side effects, and some can even be dangerous if taken with certain other medications.

Cough Treatment with Water

If you’re coughing, it’s probably because your lungs are filling with mucus. And if you’ve ever had the experience of coughing up a big glob of spit, then you know that this is not a fun or pleasant experience.

When you have a cold or flu, your body will produce excess mucus to protect against bacteria that could be present in your respiratory tract.

This can lead to copious amounts of saliva production and a lot of coughing. But there are ways to treat it.

  • The first thing is to hydrate yourself well by drinking plenty of fluids
  • The second is to make sure that you’re getting enough rest so your body can recover from whatever illness it has contracted.
  •  You may find that taking an over-the-counter medication like Zyrtec or Robitussin helps too!

These have guaifenesin that will help to get rid of mucus.

Treatment of Dry Cough

Dry cough is one of the most difficult to treat. It can be caused by a wide range of things, but the most common causes are colds or infections.

You may also Submit dry cough if you have asthma or bronchitis.

You should see your doctor if you have a dry cough that lasts for more than two weeks, especially if you have other symptoms such as difficulty breathing and fever.

  • It’s important to drink plenty of fluids and keep your body well-hydrated to prevent dehydration from causing your throat to become sore and irritated.
  • If you experience any side effects associated with dry cough treatment, such as a sore throat or headache, make sure you speak with your doctor about these symptoms so that they can be addressed properly.

Antitussive medicine like cough suppressants will help to reduce the cough.

Dextromethorphan syrup will help to suppress your cough. Oral theophylline is another prescription medicine that will help with dry cough.

Allergy Cough

There are many different symptoms present to identify an allergy cough that can help you get rid of your symptoms. The patient may feel eye itching, rashes, or ear itching that may accompany an allergy cough.

Some of the most popular treatment methods for allergy cough include:

Antihistamines (Cetrizine, Loratidine): These are medications that reduce the severity and duration of allergy symptoms by blocking histamine, a chemical released by cells in response to an allergen.

  • Nasal sprays: these act as decongestants, but they also have antihistamines in them, which may be more effective than taking oral medication.
  • Immunotherapy or Allergy Shots: This is a treatment where you receive small doses of the allergen over a long period to build up a tolerance and reduce sensitivity.

Upper Respiratory Cough Syndrome

This occurs as a result of sinus congestion, post-nasal drip cough, or due to gastric content regurgitation.

Many people have sinus congestion or postnasal drip. This can be caused by many factors, such as allergies, a cold, or the flu. There are many treatments for this ailment that range from over-the-counter medications to prescription drugs.

Decongestant with pseudoephedrine will help to reduce mucus thickness.

Other treatments are corticosteroids, either as nasal sprays or oral pills.

There are also some home remedies you can try for sinus congestion or post-nasal drips, such as saline nasal spray, gargling with salt water, or a nasal rinse with a neti pot.

Cough Medicine: Different Types


These are drugs that help to bring up phlegm and mucus from the lungs, throat, and nose.

Expectorants are used to treat symptoms of a cold or influenza. They work by loosening mucus in the chest and throat, which makes it easier for a person to cough up phlegm.

Guaifenesin is the active compound in expectorants that will make it easier to cough.

Anti-tussive cough medicine

Suppressants, or antitussives, are drugs that reduce the activity of the respiratory system. They are used to treat asthma and other breathing problems.

Dextromethorphan is a type of cough suppressant that inhibits dry cough.


This medication is a common medicine used to treat sinus congestion and a runny nose. It works by decreasing the amount of mucus in your nose and throat, which helps loosen trapped fluids and mucus.

When you take decongestant medication, it can make your symptoms worse for a short time.

This is called rebound congestion. Your doctor will tell you when to use the medication, so you can avoid this problem.


These are drugs that are primarily used to relieve or prevent the symptoms of allergic reactions such as hay fever, skin allergies, and other types of allergies.

They work by blocking the effects of a chemical called histamine, which is released in large amounts during an allergic reaction.

  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • Loratadine (Alavert, Claritin)
  • Fexofenadine (Allegra)

Pain Relievers

A common cold and the flu both come with headaches and fever. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen( Tylenol), and naproxen are commonly used to relieve fever and headaches.

Over-the-counter Cough Medicine

Many people experience dry coughs that can be a nuisance. This article will discuss some of the best cough suppressant drugs and how they can help you get rid of your dry cough.

For some people, a dry cough can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. If you’re coughing up phlegm and mucus on a daily basis, it’s important that you treat the problem right away.

One way to do this is with cough suppressants or decongestants for dry cough treatment.

These medications will help relieve your symptoms and make it easier for you to breathe through your nose and mouth.


It is a medication used to treat dry cough. It works by reducing the production of mucus and other fluids in the respiratory tract. It may also help relieve congestion caused by fluid buildup in your lungs.

Coughing is a common symptom of a variety of diseases, including pneumonia and asthma. Dry cough, which means coughing that doesn’t produce mucus, is often caused by allergies or colds.

Guaifenesin (also known as guaifenesin hydrochloride) is a nonprescription medication used to relieve dry cough. It’s available over the counter and can be purchased at most pharmacies.


This is an antitussive that is sold under the brand name Dextrostat, and it’s used to relieve symptoms of dry cough.

It works by acting on the cough center in the brain, which causes parasympathetic contraction of the pharyngeal constrictor muscles. This leads to a reduction in bronchial secretions and an increase in bronchial tone.

Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)

This is the most common drug used to treat a dry cough. It works by increasing the amount of mucus in your throat and airways so that it can be cleared more easily.

Pseudoephedrine comes as a tablet or elixir.

If you’re taking pseudoephedrine for the first time, it’s important that you start with a low dose and work your way up to a higher one over several days.


It is a syrup that relieves you from dry cough without drowsiness, and it is the only FDA-approved generic for Robitussin.

It costs 50% less than leading brands and it offers fast relief that lasts all night.

Phenylephrine is an expectorant to loosen mucous, so it helps you cough up the mucous that is causing your dry cough.

Treating Your Child’s Cough

It is not recommended to give cough medicines to children aged less than 4 years, and it is unnecessary to treat coughs at ages below two years in children.

Zarbees and Manuka honey are the best available honey that can be used for children.

At the same time, it is contraindicated to use honey in children under 1 year as there is a risk of botulinum toxin.

Cough Medicine on Prescription


This is a cough medicine that works by reducing the amount of mucus in your airways. It helps to loosen and thin out mucus so that it can be coughed up.

Benzonatate has the highest efficacy among all over-the-counter cough medicines. It also has few side effects and no serious risks when used as directed.

This cough medicine works by blocking the action of the chemical histamine in your body. When histamine is blocked, it can’t cause the symptoms of a cough.


This cough medicine is an effective way to treat coughs that are caused by the flu or cold, as well as allergies and post-nasal drip.

It works by relaxing the muscles in your airway so they don’t tighten up as much, which allows you to breathe easier.

Codeine is a strong painkiller that can help relieve your symptoms when nothing else has worked. It’s one of the safest opioids on the market.

The patient can get addicted to codeine.

Hydrocodone: FlowTuss and Hycofenix

This cough medicine is used to treat symptoms of acute bronchitis and pharyngitis (croup). The doctor may use this to treat other conditions as well.

This is a prescription cough medicine that contains an opioid, which works to relieve your symptoms. It comes in a variety of dosage strengths and forms, including syrup and tablets. Each dosage strength is designed to treat a different type of cough.

Side Effects of Cough Medicine

Cough medicine can have some side effects, but luckily, most of them are mild and easily treatable with over-the-counter remedies.

However, if you’re experiencing a particularly severe reaction to your cough medicine, such as an allergic reaction or severe throat irritation, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.

Cough meds can cause:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness

Cough Mechanism

Coughing is caused by irritation of the airway. The breathing process is happening in between atmosphere to lung through nose and mouth. The mucous membranes in your nose filter out bacteria, dust, and other foreign particles, and they pass through the epiglottis into the larynx, where they’re swallowed.

You can trigger coughing by

  • Breathing too fast or shallowly
  • Holding your breath when you cough (this can block your throat)
  • Smoking (it irritates the lungs)

Acute Cough

An acute cough is a sudden and severe cough that causes you to cough up a lot of mucus. An acute cough can be caused by an infection, allergies, or a cold.

  • Choking, foreign body aspiration
  • Viral flu or other viral infections (SARS-CoV2, MERS, cold viruses)
  • Bacterial causes (pneumonia or pertussis)
  • Acute asthma exacerbation
  • Allergy and laryngeal swelling
  • croup
  • Laryngeal inflammation
  • Sinus infection

Chronic Cough

Chronic cough is a common ailment that affects millions of people worldwide.It may be caused by a number of different factors, but it is often caused by allergies. The most common causes of chronic cough are rhinitis and asthma.

Chronic cough is characterized by a persistent cough that lasts for more than three months and causes significant distress or interference with normal activities.

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Postnasal drip
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Asthma
  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Smoking or secondary smoking
  • Lung cancer
  • Medications (ACE inhibitors; lisinopril, captopril, enalapril, or beta-blockers; labetalol, bisoprolol)

When to Visit the Doctor

When it comes to cough medicine, it’s important to know when you should see a doctor for treatment.

Coughs are an important part of your health, but they can also be a sign of something serious. If you’re coughing and it doesn’t go away after a few days or if it’s accompanied by a fever or other symptoms, see your doctor right away.

Here are some signs that may indicate a more serious issue:

  • You’ve taken over-the-counter cough medicine for more than three weeks in a row.
  • Your cough is accompanied by shortness of breath or chest pain.
  • You’re coughing up blood.
  • You have trouble breathing because your lungs are inflamed.
  • Your cough lasts more than three weeks

TeleHealthDoc articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Dr. Pallavi Sharma

Dr. Pallavi Sharma is one of Melbourne’s best, well respected cosmetic doctors and aims to provide longstanding anti-aging benefits for her clients. With over 11 years experience in Performing cosmetic procedures, Dr. Sharma has lectured medical professionals regarding cosmetic treatments and is heavily involved in providing up to date cosmetic treatments to her clients and friends.
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