Skip to main content

Why Medicine?

Why Take Cough Medicine and Decongestants

People often ask when or whether they should take cold medicine. Below are some key questions that, we hope, will answer yours.1

Should you always take medication to stop a cough that comes with a cold or flu?

If your cough is productive, meaning that you are coughing up mucus, you shouldn’t try to completely stop it, because your body needs to get rid of that mucus. However, you can make your coughs more productive and under your control so they are less bothersome. A non-prescription cough medicine with an expectorant and cough suppressant, such as certain Robitussin products, will help by keeping the mucus secretions liquid and easily expelled while the cough suppressant helps you bring your cough under greater control.

Can decongestants be used to relieve a cough?

Decongestants can be used to relieve stuffy, congested noses, not coughs. Non-prescription medicines that contain guaifenesin and dextromethorphan, such as Robitussin DM, can relieve your cough while they loosen the mucus, making it easier to expel.

What can I do to help me or my child feel better during a cold?

There are a number of ways you can help you or your child feel better while living with a cold. Robitussin products may be one option, but there are other comforting ways, used for generations:

  • Rest – Make sure to get plenty of rest both day and night to recharge and get better faster.
  • Drink lots of liquids – Make sure to drink lots of fluids, such as water and natural orange juice, throughout the day.
  • Moisten the air – Use a humidifier or vaporizer to moisten the air. This also will help ease congestion during the day and night.
  • Warm baths – Draw a warm, soothing bath to rest and relax muscles. The warm water and air also will help to clear the nasal passages.
  • TLC – Sometimes the best medicine is just knowing you are there to take care of your children, hug them and make them feel comforted. Spend time with your kids, cuddle with them and tell them stories of when you were sick. Let them know that feeling better is just a few days away.



  1. Always read and follow label directions. Consult your doctor with any questions.