Cold and flu medications come with a wide range of formulas, ingredients and benefits. This variety gives you many options for combating your symptoms, but how do you choose ones that best meet your needs? Knowing what’s on the labels is key, especially with mediations design to relieve coughing. This short guide compares cough suppressant vs expectorant. You’ll learn how each one works
Understanding the Human Cough Reflex
It’s easy to forget that the human coughing reflex exists for a reason, especially when you’re sick. Yet that reflex is meant to protect us: Its job is to prevent foreign bodies from entering our lungs. That’s why it usually triggers in response to dust, small particles, air pollution, food, allegens and excess mucus in our airways.
Your central nervous system is responsible for activating the cough reflex. Nerves lining your windpipe, voicebox and bronchial tubes detect foreign substances and send signals to the vagus nerve that runs from your brainstem to your abdominal area. The vagus nerve communicates with the medulla inside your brainstem, triggering the cough reflex.
Suppressant Blocks the Cough Reflex
No one likes a constant cough that doesn’t go away. Frequent coughing for extended periods of time can irritate the lungs and cause more coughing. It may lead to other major health issues: sleeplessness, dizziness, vomiting, headaches, urinary incontinence and even broken ribs.
Over-the-counter cough suppressants target these problems by inhibiting the body’s coughing reflex. These commonly include compounds such as dextromethorphan, which lowers activity in the part of the brain controlling that reflex. There’s one major downside to these compounds: They can cause side effects like drowsiness, dry mouth and upset stomach.
Natural alternatives can provide symptom relief without these side effects. Because a nagging cough usually comes with sneezing, watery eyes and a runny nose, multisymptom over the counter flu medicine is an excellent option. These homeopathic remedies include antibodies to chemicals our bodies already produce when we’re sick, reducing histmanine activity and boosting the natural immune response to shorten the duration of colds and flu illnesses.
Expectorant Thins Mucus
Expectorants work much differently than cough suppressants. They’re designed to break up mucus and make it thinner so your body can more easily cough it out. These commonly include compounds such as guaifenesin, which also has muscle relaxing properties. However, these also come with side effects such as dizziness and drowsiness.
If you’re struggling with a dry unproductive cough, you may want a homeopathic cough suppressant instead. These also rely on antibodies to chemicals produced by our bodies such as histamines and bradykinin, a peptide that encourages inflammation. Binding to these chemicals significantly reduces their impact.
Symptom Relief Without the Side Effects
People combating colds, cough and the flu find themselves choosing between the lesser or two evils: staying sick and miserable or putting up with side effects. Natural cold and cough remedies like those from Brillia health offer other alternatives. Medications such as Cold-Flu Recovery and Cough Control supply symptom relief using antibodies to substances manufactured by the human body.