I felt lucky that I'd escaped the winter coughs and colds this year, especially since the one that's been affecting my friends has left them with a persistent dry hacking cough that's lasted in a few cases for up to three months. But when I went to my daughter's in London for the half-term holidays I wasn't quite so lucky. What the Welsh couldn't do my grandson managed to infect me with what I presumed was a cold but by the end of the week was a raging temperature, thirst, shivering and a throat that felt as if I'd been swallowing sharpened knives.
'He had it for two weeks.' My daughter told me, standing well back from me. 'Perhaps I'd better cancel our weekend break.'
The weekend break is something we try to do as a family once or twice a year, generally in the off-season when prices aren't so prohibitive, but that's another story. Bravely I thought I'd manage, especially since we were staying nearer to Wales than London. I had a long conversation with a local chemist about cough medicines since I take a lot of different medications and I have to be extra careful what I take. My main problem is that I already take co-codamol, which is codeine and paracetamol and I can't take more paracetamol, effectively taking out most of the cold remedies. My tablets ease pain and aching limbs and help temperatures, but do nothing to soothe a sore throat and a tickly cough.
The pharmacist went away to consult a book and also checked the remedies that could re-act badly with my blood pressure tablets. This is something that's very important since anything that clashes with the medication can cause a drop or increase in blood pressure and mine is just controlled at the moment. I expected to come away with throat sweets but the pharmacist came back with a bottle of Benylin Dry Cough medicine. She'd read that it was okay to take and did soothe a scratchy cough. It's also non-drowsy so wouldn't contradict my other tablets. It was also okay to use with blood pressure tablets in general. Now while you might not consider it that important, some medicines do have bad reactions so I really want to stress that this new cough syrup was marvelous for me.
I don't normally give a long list of ingredients but the main one in this is called Dextromethorphan that soothes the throat and suppresses the need to cough. Even after I started to pass on to the 'chesty' phrase of the infection I found this still helped the cough become more 'productive' and eased my breathing that was starting to get quite rapid by then (five days later). However, another ingredient in this syrup is ethanol, which is 6% alcohol and even at low doses needs to be taken into account if (like me) you can't drink alcohol. I had a quick chat with the pharmacist about this and she said I would be fine with the small amount, but if I'd been struggling with a drink problem any amount could start a relapse. It's not a good idea for a child either, so this is suitable for children over 12 and adults only.
It also contains some sugar and diabetics need to add the amount into their daily allowance if tablet controlled. I did think that with the ingredients listed this might have a drowsy effect, but was reassured this is a non-drowsy formula. It did work well enough in the early stages to allow me a few hours of unbroken sleep though. It also took care of my sore throat though it was nearly five days before I felt like eating. The dosage is two 5ml spoons up to 4 times per day and since I had painkillers for the aches and pains I felt that at £4.59 for 150mls it was adequate. I could have bought an all-in-one medicine for colds but they aren't that effective with the co-codamol and I get all my prescriptions free in Wales. It did tide me over until I got home early this week, but having used the whole bottle and now having a chesty cough, I will probably try the Benylin chesty cough medicine. Naturally I'll be seeing the doctor since I'm going to need an anti-biotic, but our doctors don't prescribe remedies to ease infections, only ones to try and cure it.
I'd never really considered buying in these sorts of over-the-counter remedies before, though I have used Benylin when I was younger. I can really recommend this cough mixture as soothing, keeping me on my feet (just about) and being safe. It also tastes quite pleasant. This will be going in my medicine cabinet for sure.
Thanks for reading and stay healthy.
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Benylin Dry Coughs Non-Drowsy can help soothe and ease the irritating symptoms without making you feel drowsy, so you can carry on as normal / Its formulation is clinically proven to help relieve your dry hacking cough.