Cough is a very common malady, but it can bother you quite a lot if not treated at the very outset, and can be severely uncomfortable for small children. It attacks the most at certain times of the year (this time varies from region to region and climate to climate) and so small children should be protected the most during the sensitive time.
It is basically of two types viz. dry cough and wet cough. The best method in case of infants and toddlers is to consult a doctor. If you are far away from a doctor, you can treat your child with the prescription that was issued by the doctor previously. A word of caution here. Some people are in the habit of going to a chemist directly and asking for a cough syrup. Such an act can be detrimental to the health of your tender children.
In case of adults you can try self-medication but only on the condition that if the cough persists even afterwards, you ought to see a doctor. First of all, find out the type of cough you are affected with. If your throat feels very prickly you are suffering from dry cough. On the other hand if with every bout of cough you spit out mucus, the problem is of wet cough.
After identifying the problem go in for medication. Take an ‘antitussive syrup/medicine’ if you suffer from dry cough. It will bring to a halt the natural reaction of your body i.e. coughing. You will feel relief as you won’t cough and the itchiness will not bother you (the itch usually increases as you continue to cough and that makes the problem even worse).
In case of wet cough an ‘expectorant syrup’ will do the trick. It would attack the mucus and hamper its growth. This way you will be saved from the mucus that tends to fill your lungs and can be a cause of other serious problems if continued to accumulate. The moment you feel relief from mucus, your cough will tend to subside by its own.
In addition to the above medicines to get rid of cough, you can try herbal medicines/ home remedies as well. These prove to be quite effective in case of mild infections. Even if the infection is strong the increased frequency of herbal medicines can give much relief provided you treat the infection early enough. For example, honey mixed with lemon juice is a very good alternative medicine. However, you must consult your doctor if the cough persists even after 2-3 days of self-medication, otherwise serious complications can arise even in adults.