Cough Medicine is Also Worthless for Adults

Previous Article Next Article
February 12, 2008 | 48,275 views

Millions of people use over-the-counter (OTC) cough medications every year, but a new review has shown that they may not be effective.

After reviewing 25 studies of both children and adults, the researchers found that some OTC cough medicines appeared to provide benefit, while others did not. They concluded that there is no good evidence for or against their use.

One concerning point revealed in the study was that six out of the nine studies supported by the drug industry had positive results for the medications. However, out of the 16 studies that had no conflicts of interest, only three showed positive results.

In August 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advised parents not to give cough and cold remedies to children under 2, and a panel of federal health advisors later said that children under 6 should not receive the medications either. On the heels of the FDA’s advice to ban cough and cold medications for kids, it makes complete sense that their effectiveness for adults should also be put into question.

Although this study came up with conflicting results, they uncovered something pretty revealing: the impacts of conflict of interest.

There were nine studies that reported ties to the drug industry. Of these, six found that cough medications were beneficial. Yet, when no conflict of interest was present -- as was the case in 16 of the studies -- only three were positive.

The other interesting point brought up by one of the study’s researchers is whether or not it’s even necessary to cure a cough.

There is a common perception that if you’re coughing, sneezing or have a low-grade fever, you must take a medication to get rid of it. In reality, coughing and sneezing are tools your body uses to get rid of viruses and irritants, and fever also helps to kill bacteria and viruses.

So if you take a drug to stop these natural protections, you are actually stopping your body’s healing process -- and in the long run it will likely take you even longer to feel better.

How to Protect Yourself From Ever Getting Coughs and Colds

Underlying every cough and cold is a weakened immune system. How does your immune system become weakened? The biggest offenders are poor lifestyle choices, but even daily living can take its toll. For instance, all of the following can put your immune system “under the weather”:

1. Eating too much sugar and too many grains
2. Inadequate vitamin D stores from not getting enough sun exposure during the summer
3. Insufficient omega-3 intake and/or excessive omega-6 ingestion (mainly from vegetable oils)
4. Not getting enough rest
5. Using insufficient strategies to address emotional stressors in your life
6. Any combination of the above

Yet, many people who begin to follow the lifestyle advice recommended in my newest book Take Control of Your Health report that they stop getting coughs, colds and the flu. Why is this?

Because they are taking the steps to keep their immune system functioning at its optimal level. These include:
These are the things that will make your body nearly impervious to cold and flu viruses.

And please do not underestimate the fourth item on this list: emotional health. Studies have found that people who are overwhelmed by stress are nearly four times more likely to come down with a cold than their optimistic peers. One of the best tools I know of for keeping stress under control is the psychological acupressure technique EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).

In the event that you DO come down with a cold or flu, over-the-counter medications are likely a waste of your money. Instead, try putting a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ears. This is a safe, effective trick that works remarkably well (especially if you do it at the first sign of symptoms), and is just a fraction of the cost of highly questionable cough and cold medications.

[+]Sources and References [-]Sources and References