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Coughing is your body's way of getting foreign substances and mucus out of your lungs and upper airway passages. Coughs are often useful, and you should not try to stop them. Sometimes, though, coughs are severe enough to make breathing difficult, cause vomiting, or prevent rest. Home treatment can help you feel more comfortable when you have a cough.
There is not enough evidence to determine whether cough medicines work.footnote 1 But some people may find them useful. Avoid cold remedies that combine medicines to treat many symptoms. It is generally better to treat each symptom separately. There are two kinds of cough medicines: expectorants and suppressants.
If you have sore muscles from coughing a lot, have someone massage your chest and back muscles a few times each day. Massage can reduce soreness and help you rest and relax better.
For more information about medicine safety, see the topics Over-the-Counter Medicine Precautions and Quick Tips: Giving Over-the-Counter Medicines to Children.
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Wark P (2015). Bronchitis (acute). BMJ Clinical Evidence. http://clinicalevidence.bmj.com/x/systematic-review/1508/overview.html. Accessed April 14, 2016.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineJohn Pope, MD - PediatricsAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Current as ofMarch 25, 2017
Current as of:
March 25, 2017
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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