With the change in weather, and cough and cold infections on the rise, most people rely a lot on the over-the-counter cough syrups and medication.However, doctors say they are of no use. One expert even says that that there is no evidence to suggest cough medicines actually work. The British National Health Service officially recommends opting for “a homemade cough remedy containing honey and lemon.“ Honey, they state, is a demulcent, which means it coats the throat and relieves the irritation that causes coughing.On its website, it says “There's no quick way of getting rid of a cough caused by a viral infection. It will usually clear up after your immune system has fought off the virus.“
Dr Tim Ballard, Vice Chairman of a medical college, said, “Medical evidence behind cough medicines is weak and there is no evidence to say that they will reduce the duration of illnesses as such, and doctors are unlikely to prescribe them.“ He also added, “If the cough lasts longer and is affecting young infants, or is associated with coughing up blood, shortness of breath, confusion, or high fever, then they should contact doctors.“
Research released last year showed the average time for a cough to last after a virus is 18 days -with many coughs sticking around for even longer. “It's your body's way of keeping unwanted stuff from getting into your lungs. But unfortunately, post-virus, this irritating symptom can really linger.“ said Dr Ballard. However, any cough that remains for more than three weeks definitely needs to be looked at by a doctor and that here too, over the-counter medications may not work, since cough could just be a symptom for something more than a throat infection.