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Winter Survival Guide: Experts tips on beating seasonal sniffles


We spend millions on medicines for coughs during winter but experts are not convinced it’s money well spent.

An influential Cochrane Review concluded: “We found no good evidence for or against the effectiveness of over-the-counter medications in acute cough.”

Professor Alyn Morice, a respiratory expert based at the University of Hull, says: “Although the labels on products claim there are different types of cough this is essentially a marketing gimmick.”

Dr Stillman says: “The key is to use some sort of demulcent which coats and soothes sensitised nerves in the throat. A simple linctus or a home remedy of honey and lemon will usually do the trick.”

Medical herbalist Dr Chris Etheridge adds: “Icelandic moss and mallow, which are used in Throaty Soothe syrup or lozenges, have proven demulcent properties and are very good at calming irritated mucous membranes.”

In one observational study doctors reported a 60 per cent improvement in children with irritation of the pharynx and dry cough. (Throaty Soothe syrup, £6.99 for 100ml,

Dr Etheridge adds: “Unlike other over-the-counter cough remedies, Throaty Soothe syrup can be given to children from 12 months of age.” 

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