Cough medicines and sore throat remedies: save or spend?
When it comes to coughs, consultant medical information pharmacist Nargis Ara says the most important thing is to know what sort of cough you have. 'A dry, tickly cough at the back of throat that tends to be non-productive, is usually viral, leftover from the flu perhaps. In this case, you canít treat it as itís working its way out of the system so a linctus to soothe it is fine. Thereís no real difference between linctuses, other than texture or flavour so buy what you like. It should resolve itself.'
'If youíve got a chesty cough where youíre producing phlegm and sputum when you cough, itís best not to self-diagnose. With this cough, you need a cough expectorant i.e. something which loosens the phlegm. You need to get rid of it so you donít want anything which stops you from coughing. Itís best to speak to the pharmacist if youíre unsure which type of cough you have. The only time youíd buy a suppressant is if you have the dry tickly cough without any underlying problems.'
'When it comes to sore throats, some sweets, lozenges and sprays have a numbing effect via a local anesthetic while others just lubricate and sooth using glycerin,' she says. 'These make it more tolerable but donít get rid of the pain. The actual price doesnít make a difference but these ingredients will. If the product makes a claim such as fast-acting or it contains anti-inflammatories, that will cost more. As most generic products offer basic ingredients, itís the branded ones with the extras so it may be worth paying more.'
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