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Coughs - a look at a variety of treatments and some self help tips

Posted by Eamonn Brady on


A cough is a reflex action to clear the throat of any foreign bodies or particles, such as dust.  But when you get a cold, the infected mucus from your nose drips down the back of your throat in a process called post-nasal drip.  This post-nasal drip causes a type of cough that is not helpful at all. Essentially there are two types of coughs, a dry or a chesty cough.  Chesty coughs occur when mucus (also called phlegm or catarrh) builds up in the airways and the cough occurs so your body can clear the mucus. 

Chesty cough mixtures such as Viscolex® contain an expectorant which liquefy the catarrh so it can be coughed up easier. There are sugar free versions too.

Dry cough mixtures contain ingredients such as pholcodeine, codeine and dextromethorphan.  Dry cough mixtures come in drowsy or non-drowsy versions. The likes of pholcodeine and codeine should only be used in moderation as they cause side effects like constipation and can cause withdrawal symptoms like headaches and can be addictive even if only using for a few days. There are also combination cough mixtures available which contain decongestants which are effective for cough with congestion. Whelehans Pharmacy own brand Cough Mixture is available in both our stores to ease all types of coughs.

You should see your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms with your cough:

  • Phlegm, which is green, yellow, or rusty colour.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Cough lasting longer than two weeks.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Chest pain on breathing or coughing.
  • Unexpected loss of weight.
  • Regular night time cough.
  • Harsh barking cough in children (croup).
  • Whooping sound when breathing in after a fit of coughing (whooping cough).

These can be a sign of more serious symptoms

Self Help

Stop smoking

This gives the lungs an opportunity to try to clear the infection.


Steam inhalations

These can be very useful, particularly in productive (chesty) coughs.  The steam helps to liquefy lung secretions and the warm, moist air is comforting.


Increase fluid intake

Helps hydrate the lungs so helps clear them quicker and hot drinks can have a soothing effect. 



  • Wash your hands regularly and properly, especially after touching your nose or mouth and before handling food. 
  • Always sneeze and cough into tissues to prevent spreading infection.
  • Do not share cups or kitchen utensils with others.  Use your own cup, plates, and cutlery. 

Covid-19 booster and flu vaccine clinics at Whelehans

Whelehans Pearse St offer a weekly walk in Covid-19 booster clinic. You can get your Flu vaccine and Covid Booster on the same day at Whelehans Pharmacy. Whelehans Pharmacy Clonmore will be offering the Flu vaccine too and you can book conveniently on the Whelehans website.  


Check for more vaccine information. For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans Pharmacies, log on to or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore).

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