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What are cold and cough medicines?

Cold and cough medicines can help relieve symptoms of a common cold. The symptoms of a cold can include a sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, and coughing.

You don't usually need to treat a cold or the cough that it causes. You can't cure a cold, and antibiotics won't help you get better. But sometimes the symptoms can keep you awake or cause a lot of discomfort. In that case, cold and cough medicines can sometimes be helpful.

What are the different types of cold and cough medicines?

There are lots of different cold and cough medicines, and they do different things:

  • Nasal decongestants - unclog a stuffy nose
  • Cough suppressants - quiet a cough
  • Expectorants - loosen mucus in your lungs so you can cough it up
  • Antihistamines - stop runny noses and sneezing
  • Pain relievers - ease fever, headaches, and minor aches and pains
What do I need to know about taking cold and cough medicines?

Before taking these medicines, read the labels and follow the instructions carefully. Many cold and cough medicines contain the same active ingredients. For example, some of them include pain relievers. If you are taking these medicines and are also taking a separate pain reliever, you could be getting a dangerous amount of the pain reliever.

Do not give cold or cough medicines to children under two, and don't give aspirin to children.

What else can I do to feel better for a cold or cough?

If you decide that you don't want to take cold and cough medicines, there are other ways to feel better:

  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Use a cool mist humidifier
  • Use saline nose drops or sprays
  • Use nasal suctioning with a bulb syringe, which can be very helpful in children under a year old

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Atarax FDA Approved Drugs

HYDROXYZINE HYDROCHLORIDE [Hydroxyzine HydrochlorideC21H27ClN2O22ClH]
10mg (oral tablet)
10mg/5ml (oral syrup)
25mg (oral tablet)
25mg/ml (injection injectable)
50mg (oral tablet)
50mg/ml (injection injectable)
Amneal PharmSep 24, 2008
Eci Pharms LlcJun 30, 2008
Elite Labs IncDec 28, 2004
Heritage PharmaAug 20, 2014
Hetero Labs Ltd IiiMay 29, 2008
Invagen PharmsMar 12, 2008
Kvk TechMar 20, 2007
MylanJun 7, 2010
Northstar HlthcareMar 31, 2008
Nuvo Pharm IncMar 29, 2017
PlivaJan 10, 1986
Prinston IncMay 27, 2005
Hi Tech PharmaOct 28, 1994
Silarx Pharms IncAug 21, 2013
Vintage PharmsApr 10, 2002
WockhardtApr 12, 1982
Fresenius Kabi UsaApproved Prior To Jan 1, 1982
LuitpoldApproved Prior To Jan 1, 1982
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WARNING: Consult a licensed physician in the appropriate field for medical treatment and drug prescription. Do not self medicate.