Cough Syrup, Sinus Symptoms, and the Placebo Effect
Coughs and colds go hand in hand. Colds produce a constellation of symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, and coughing. These are all related, of course: they involve the overproduction of mucus, which is your body’s bioweapons barrier against pathogens of every kind.
Coughing is especially pernicious because of the nany secondary symptoms that it can cause. Too much coughing can affect your appetite, impair your sleep, even break your ribs. It is a violent and repetitive act which can be hard to control once it starts. No wonder Americans spend so much money trying to curb their coughs each year – upward of $3 billion on OTC medicines alone, according to eMaxHealth. But do they work?
Do Cough Medicines Really Work?
The evidence is patchy, to say the least. A number of well-designed studies have compared cough medicines to placebos in blind trials. Researchers found little to convince them that these widely used compounds are really helping anyone. Often both cohorts – the cough medicine users, and the placebo users – improve, suggesting that the real key to beating a cough doesn’t live within a bottle; it lies within us all. (More on this below.)
Cough Medicine and Kids: Do Not Attempt
The discouraging data holds especially true for children, a cohort that is more vulnerable to harm from unnecessary medications. Despite ample warnings from pediatricians over many decades, many parents continue to administer “half-doses” of common OTC drugs to their kids at night, hoping against hope that that child will get some sleep. Alas, pronounced drowsiness is the most likely outcome.
So what can you do to actually curb a cough? Most experts recommend gentle measures to warm and humidify the air you breathe. If you’re experiencing post nasal drip, you could also try a Neti pot or similar irrigation technique.
Mind Over Matter
Surprisingly, there is one intriguing stratagem that requires nothing more than focus. Many people swear by the notion that coughing begets more coughing, particularly if you’re lying in bed. The trick is to consciously, ferociously, and at all costs resist the urge to cough for a significant spell of time, no matter how torturous it is. More oxygen and relaxation can actually help this reflex to settle down and let you to get some rest. Breathing exercises can help as well.
The Los Angeles Sinus Institute offers the best treatment for colds, coughs, flu, and sinus infections anywhere in Los Angeles. For the most current information and the finest diagnostic procedures in the Southland, contact us today.