Understanding Cough Drops: Uses, Ingredients, and Safety

May 15, 2024 | 1 min read

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Cough drops are a common remedy for soothing sore throats and reducing coughs. They work by numbing the throat, providing relief from irritation, and often include ingredients like menthol and eucalyptus oil. 

It's important to follow the recommended dosage and understand the potential effects of ingredients for better managing your symptoms. 

How Do Cough Drops Work?

Cough drops work by soothing the throat and reducing irritation that triggers coughing. 

They often contain menthol, which creates a cooling sensation that can numb the throat and reduce the urge to cough

Some cough drops also have a mild anesthetic effect, further decreasing throat discomfort. 

Additionally, the act of sucking on a cough drop increases saliva production, which helps to keep the throat moist and alleviate dryness that can lead to coughing.

What Are in Cough Drops?

Cough drops typically contain several key ingredients:

  • Menthol: Derived from mint plants, it provides a cooling sensation and numbs the throat, making it easier to suppress the cough reflex. However, according to a PubMed study, the amount of menthol in cough drops may negatively affect cough severity in some individuals.
  • Eucalyptus Oil: Helps to reduce inflammation and clear nasal congestion.
  • Honey: Included for its soothing properties and natural sweetness, which can coat and calm the throat.
  • Flavors: Various flavors are added to make the drops pleasant to take.
  • Herbal Extracts and Vitamins: Each chosen for their potential to support throat health and provide a pleasant taste.

How Long Do Cough Drops Last?

The relief from cough drops generally lasts for about 2 to 4 hours

This duration can vary depending on several factors:

  • The severity of throat irritation.
  • The presence and concentration of active ingredients like menthol or eucalyptus oil.
  • How slowly the drop is dissolved in the mouth.

For persistent symptoms, it may be necessary to use cough drops more frequently, as directed on the packaging.

How Many Cough Drops Can You Take?

It is important to follow the instructions on the packaging for the recommended daily limit of cough drops. 

Typically, you should not exceed 10 to 12 cough drops per day. Exceeding this limit can lead to potential risks such as digestive issues or an overdose of certain ingredients like menthol.

Always read the label carefully and consult a healthcare professional if you are unsure about the proper dosage.

Can You Have Cough Drops When Pregnant?

Many cough drops are considered safe to use during pregnancy, but it is important to be cautious. Some ingredients in cough drops, like menthol or certain herbal extracts, may not be recommended for pregnant women. 

It is best to consult your healthcare provider before using cough drops while pregnant. Your doctor can provide advice tailored to your specific situation and ensure the safety of both you and your baby.

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