Choosing the Right Cough Medicine

What do you do for a chest cough that just won’t quit? What about a dry, tickly cough that wakes you up at night? Get ready for the cold and flu season by learning which cough medicine is right for you.

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What causes a cough?

A cough is annoying, but it is important. It is your body’s way of clearing your lungs of unwanted mucus and phlegm.
A cough may have many causes. The common cold, dust, air pollution, heartburn and even some medicines can cause a cough. Speak to your doctor or the Pharmacist at Walmart to find out what could be causing your cough.
If you catch a cold, you can expect to have a cough for 2 or 3 weeks. The good news is that while a cough is irritating, the Pharmacy at Walmart has a wide range of products to help bring you some relief.

Building your cough care kit

When you have a cold, the last thing you want to do is go shopping for medicines. Be prepared for this cold and flu season by stocking up on these three types of cough products:

  • Cough syrups: Different products relieve different types of cough
  • Lozenges: Ease sore throats
  • Rubs: Are applied directly to the skin and can help with a stuffy nose and cough
Ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for help with sorting out your cough care kit before you get sick.

Cough medicines, close up

Cough syrups: Choose a cough syrup based on your type of cough.

For a dry, tickly, hacking cough
Type of medicine: “Suppressant”
Active ingredient: Dextromethorphan (DM)
How it works: Blocks the cough reflex in the brain

For a chesty, phlegmy, productive cough
Type of medicine: “Expectorant” (E)
Active ingredient: Guaifenesin
How it works: Loosens and thins mucus making it easier to cough up

Lozenges: Choose any flavor you like to soothe a sore throat.

Rubs: They have camphor, menthol and eucalyptus – to help soothe a dry cough and runny, stuffy nose. You apply them directly to the throat, back and chest and breathe in the vapours.

If you have any questions, or need help choosing a product, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart.

More helpful tips

• Antibiotics won’t help:
Most coughs are caused by viruses, which means that antibiotics won’t make you feel better.
• When to see your doctor:
  • If you cough up blood
  • Fever for more than 72 hours or a high fever (>40.5°C or 104.9°F)
  • If your cough makes you feel light-headed, or very tired
  • If your cough leaves you short of breath
  • If you have chronic health conditions (e.g. asthma, COPD, heart failure)
  • If your cough lasts longer than 3 weeks
• Before using any medicine, make sure you know:
  • How to use it, e.g., What is the dose? How often and when do I take it?
  • If it is safe for you to use with your medications and health conditions
  • How long to use it
  • Possible side effects
If you have any questions, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart.

Important information

The Pharmacist at Walmart is always available to talk to you about how to manage your cough. Come on into the pharmacy and... Just ask!

Sponsored by

  • Helixia®
  • equateTM/MC

This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your symptoms, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for more information, and/or contact your doctor.

The pharmacist at Walmart does not endorse or recommend any sponsor or their products or services.
Any representation, performance claim, warranty or guarantee in any materials herein is the sole responsibility of the sponsor that has prepared such materials and is not independently verified by Walmart.

HELIXIA® is a registered trademark of Pharmascience Inc.
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*Use as directed.
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This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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