What Is An Expectorant And How Can It Help With A Cold/Cough?

Spread the love

No one likes to be sick, especially with a cold or the flu. While our immune systems launch powerful attacks against these invaders, such biological counteroffensives inadvertently make us feel worse. Symptom relief becomes a priority during these times, and we often turn to over-the-counter medications. In this brief guide, you’ll learn about natural OTC alternatives including dry cough homeopathic medicine.

Why Our Bodies Produce Mucus

Upper respiratory infections can sometimes lead to chest congestion. We feel it as the familiar tightness in the chest, accompanied by headaches, wheezing and a hacking cough producing lots of mucus. As we suffer through these symptoms, we often wonder why they occur in the first place. To find out, let’s break down the immune system’s response to respiratory viral infections.

Our body’s immune systems protect us against bacteria and viruses. It targets pathogens that cause our illnesses in two ways: killing them and kicking them out. When the immense system detects invaders in the upper respiratory tract, it kickstarts mucus production. Mucus is meant to capture the invaders and stop them from reaching the lungs. The body’s cough reflex then activates, prompting us to cough out the mucus and the pathogens trapped inside.

What Symptoms Do Expectorants Help With?

Mucus production is a direct result of the immune system’s fight against pathogens. While it serves a useful function, it can also make us feel miserable. Chest congestion occurs because our airways inflame. That inflammation plus all the excess mucus narrows the airways and restricts airflow, making normal breathing a challenge.

Expectorants are the most popular remedies for chest congestion. They perform one key function: breaking up mucus and making it thinner. These include synthetic compounds like guaifesinin, which commonly appears in multisymptom cold and flu medications sold over the counter. However, guaifesinin may cause side effects such as drowsiness, nausea, stomach pain and headaches.

When To Take an Expectorant for Cough

Over-the-counter remedies adopt two approaches to coughing: suppressing it or improving its productivity. What’s the difference? Well, answering that question requires understanding the two types of coughing that come with upper respiratory infections — dry and wet.

Dry coughs are the non-productive kind. In other words, they don’t help you rid the body of mucus or pathogens. They’re usually brought on by irritation in the throat and windpipe. If you’re seeking an expectorant for dry cough, a suppressant may be more useful.

In contrast, wet coughs help kick virus-laden phlegm out of our systems. With a wet cough, you want to make it as productive as possible. That’s when expectorants can be useful: By thinning and breaking up the mucus, your body doesn’t expend so much energy coughing it up.

Homeopathic Cold and Flu Remedies

Natural over the counter flu medicine focuses on some underlying causes of chest congestion, including inflammation in the airways and the histamine activity triggering it. They can also make your immune system perform more efficiently, reducing the duration of a cold or flu. These homeopathic alternatives can bring the same symptom relief as synthetics without the uncomfortable side effects.

Shafie SEO

SEO Blogger

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to receive the weekly Newsletters from our website. Don’t worry, we won’t spam you.