“Why would my doctor tell me not to take cough medicine for my cold or flu?”

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The first thing to appreciate about cough and cold preparations is they only provide relief of symptoms.  The body itself is providing the actual healing of what is usually a viral infection. The cough associated with a cold, flu or bronchitis will go away on its own (sooner rather than later, assuming you’re not smoking while sick; smoking further inflames your airways, thus stimulating coughing).

The nuisance symptoms of a cough often are most disturbing at night while you’re trying to sleep. Cough suppressants (antitussives) are medications that reduce your cough reflex. Additionally, you will often see the word ‘expectorant’ associated with cough medications; this component helps to hydrate and thus thin the mucus, making it easier for the body to expel.

So… some physicians prefer to allow the body to work these issues out on its own.  It is common to be told to only take cough medications at night to help you sleep, unless you need to take them to also get through your day.

Also, be reminded that all medications have side effects; you may recall that drug allergies or adverse drug reactions (which were covered here) may be additional reasons that your physician may not want you to take cough and cold preparations. If you have any questions in real time, you may always contact your physician or your SterlingMedicalAdvice.com consultant.

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