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The effectiveness of cough syrups

With the arrival of cold, humidity and the colds they bring, the dreaded cough also proliferates. That annoying symptom that usually leaves sleepless nights and a sore body in its wake, and that causes the impulsive reaction of going to the cupboard. medicines to tackle the root of the problem.

However, abusing them can be counterproductive, as pointed out by the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU). Sometimes, before opting for a syrup, a few simple steps are more effective. recommendations how to suck candies, especially honey and lemon – they help combat dry cough and soften the throat; use humidifiers to prevent the airways from drying out – the OCU recommends cold vapor ones; keep a good level of hydration to help make mucus more fluid; regularly wash your hands to prevent respiratory tract infections; use two pillows in bed and keep the room ventilated if the cough is productive and prevents falling asleep, or even inhaling vapors.

Only if the cough persists should you use syrups. Not all of them are the same, nor do they serve the same purpose, and more is not always better. The instructions on the dosage and frequency with which to take them must be followed to the letter.

The antitussives or antitussives are recommended for cutting the dry cough. They usually contain dextromethorphan and cloperastine and can be sold without a prescription, unless they include codeine among their components. Codeine, like morphine, is a substance extracted from opium or poppy. It acts on the central nervous system to relieve pain, but may cause side effects such as drowsiness, vomiting or dizziness. The OCU emphasizes that cough suppressants “frequently cause adverse reactions and are also prohibited in children under 12 years of age.”

The expectorants either mucolytics They are usually used in the case of productive cough. The former increase the production of mucus, while the latter reduce its viscosity and facilitate its expulsion. The best known ones contain ambroxol, bromhexine, acetylcysteine ​​and carbocisteine. They can also cause side effects such as insomnia, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, even skin rash.

The Consumer Organization also includes among cough medicines: combined for dry cough, which usually include dextromethorphan and other substances, such as antihistamines, decongestants or paracetamol. Its effectiveness is doubtful, according to the OCU, and by including more drugs there is a greater risk of causing adverse reactions.

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Home remedies

Who has not heard on more than one occasion that honey relieves cough. Although there are few studies that support them, what has been demonstrated is that the honey with lemon It can be as effective as many cough syrups. About 2.5 ml is recommended, preferably before going to bed.

The ability of some vegetables to counteract cough has been passed down from generation to generation. It is the case of thyme, due to its antiseptic properties, ideal for different lung infections; he licorice, used for centuries to soothe inflamed or irritated throats; and the ginger, for its antitamine and decongestant properties. They can be taken in infusions or teas.

For his part, the eucalyptus is one of the floors considered ideal for the symptomatic treatment of respiratory tract infections, with mainly mucolytic capacity. Its leaves are rich in essential oil and have traditionally been used in the form of inhalations. But there are also plants to which expectorant abilities are attributed, such as oregano and the aforementioned thyme; and antitussives, such as mallow wave poppy.

And what to say about the onion? There are those who claim that placing a container with a chopped onion next to the bed helps relieve cough, but the evidence on its effectiveness is based only on personal experiences. Of course, the room will be filled with an unpleasant smell.