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If you're suffering from a cough, there are several over the counter options that can help relieve your symptoms. Cough syrup is a popular form of medicine that can be taken to help ease the symptoms of a cough. Read on to learn more about cough syrup and which options might be best for you.

What is Cough Syrup?

Cough syrup is a liquid form of medication that offers temporary relief of symptoms like coughing, chest congestion, and stuffy nose. This OTC medicine is typically taken if you have a common cold, flu, allergies, hay fever, or other breathing-related illnesses like bronchitis. There are different forms of cough syrup made to help provide relief of certain symptoms. Syrups labeled as guaifenesin can thin and loosen mucus in the lungs to help you get relief. Other cough syrups containing ingredients like dextromethorphan are a cough suppressant that can help reduce the urge to cough while decongesting your nose so you can breathe more clearly.

How does Cough Syrup Work?

Each form of cough syrup works differently, so it's important to choose the one that will best relieve your specific symptoms. Syrups labeled as antitussives can help reduce the cough reflex, while expectorants can help loosen the secretions in your lungs to help you cough up excess mucus. Any cough syrup labeled as an antihistamine can help reduce congestion and lung secretions to help you breathe. Cough syrup with decongestants causes the blood vessels in your nose and lungs to narrow, which reduces congestion and can help you breathe. If you're not sure which cough syrup to take, consult with your doctor or health care provider.

What is the Best Cough Syrup for Adults?

While there are several different brands and formulas of cough syrups to choose from, many doctors recommend cough syrup containing dextromethorphan as the best choice for adults. This product is cough suppressant that can help reduce the urge to cough as it decongests your nose and lungs. Another option is a cough syrup containing a combination of guaifenesin and dextromethorphan to help suppress your cough while helping to thin the mucus in your lungs to help you breathe. If you have a dry, persistent cough, consider antitussives. Adults with a wet cough should use an expectorant like guaifenesin to help find relief.

What is the Strongest Cough Syrup?

The strongest cough syrup is administered via prescription and contains a drug called codeine. Cough syrup containing codeine should never be taken by anyone under 18, pregnant women, or people with liver or kidney disease. If you cannot get relief with OTC cough syrup, ask your doctor about something stronger. Cough syrup will not relieve coughs associated with asthma, COPD, or other chronic breathing problems.

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