Constant cough? Skip the syrup and get to the cause

Constant cough? Skip the syrup and get to the cause

The American College of Chest Physicians recently issued guidelines in the journal CHEST for the diagnosis and treatment of coughing in adults and children–acute cough (lasting less than three weeks), subacute cough (lasting three to eight weeks), and chronic cough (lasting more than eight weeks). Among more than 200 recommendations was one that’s sure to shake up the drugstore shelves: Avoid the use of over-the-counter cough expectorants and suppressants, in both liquid and lozenge form, because there’s simply little clinical evidence that these preparations work. It makes better sense to attack the root cause of the cough. In many cases this will be an acute cough or an “upper airway cough syndrome,” which used to be called “postnasal drip syndrome.” This condition is likely to be better treated better with an antihistamine and decongestant than a cough syrup. In other words, get rid of the drip and the cough will go away. However, antihistamines can be tricky for older people to use safely. Check with your doctor on the right brand to try.

COPYRIGHT 2006 Belvoir Media Group, LLC

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