Nothing can be more annoying than having to get through the day and night with a cough. There are different over the counter (OTC) cough medicines available at your local pharmacy.

Types of OTC Cough Medicine Available at the Pharmacy

You can get any OTC medicines without a prescription from a doctor. There are two types of cough medicines that work. These are antitussives and expectorants. Some common antitussives are Robitussin Cough or Vicks 44 Cough and Cold. The expectorant available is guaifenesin and the brand names are Mucinex and Robitussin Chest Congestion.

How Do These Medicines Work?

Antitussives help suppress a cough by blocking the cough reflex. Expectorants thin the mucus. These help the cough since they clear the mucus away from the airway. You can also help thin the mucus by drinking extra fluids.

Sometime the medicines are combined with other medicines, such as decongestants, antihistamines, and pain relievers.

These combinations are meant to treat many symptoms at the same time. If the main symptom you have is a cough then be careful with decongestants and antihistamines in these combination medicines.

These can make the mucus thicker and make it harder to clear from airways, which will cause the cough to get worse. It helps to understand how the active ingredients could be interacting with other medicines you may be taking.

What You Should Know about These Medicines

Be sure to store the medicines away from young children. Keep medicines in a dry cool place to keep them from becoming ineffective. Don’t store medicines in bathroom cabinets, which can be humid and hot.

Many healthy adults don’t have side effects from cough medicines. However, the medicines can sometimes cause sleepiness, dizziness, or irritability. Side effects can be more common for those who have health problems, the elderly, and those who use cough medicines for extended periods of time.