Imagine you are down and sick with a severe cold and an irksome cough. This keeps you up all through the night resulting in significant distress and discomfort. Now you are compelled to take over-the-counter cough syrup to relieve the symptoms or rush over to a nearby healthcare facility to get prescription medicine to treat your illness. Now that you have taken the pills, it’s now time for your daily dose of alcohol. Wait, what? Did you say ALCOHOL? Can you drink alcohol drink over cough syrup?
We think no, but let’s read on to find out facts about consuming alcoholic drinks over OTC or prescription medicines to cure a cold, cough, and other illnesses.
Can I Drink Alcohol with Cough Syrup?
In a short and straightforward answer, NO. You, unfortunately, cannot mix cough syrup or alcoholic drinks as combining both may result in adverse symptoms and severe health complications.
All humans are prone to sickness and disease. Cough, cold, and flu are seasonal diseases that anyone can contract, especially during the colder months of the year. Some people take home remedies, while others take allopathic medicine to cure their symptoms.
People who drink often find the sickness period quite overwhelming as they seemingly cannot consume their beer, wine, or any other drink with alcohol as a primary ingredient. A lot of cough medicines contain alcohol so when you take a drink after consuming the medicine, the effects can be pretty severe.
It is generally not recommended to mix cough syrup with alcohol. Although alcohol itself has the potential to reduce the signs and symptoms of a cold, it may have some really bad side effects on the body when taken before or right after consuming a medicine.
Why Can’t I have Alcohol and Cough Syrup at the Same Time?
To help you understand, in simpler words, all cough syrups and cold medicines generally have dextromethorphan and codeine as an ingredient. Whether you are taking a prescription medicine or an OTC medication, it might have dextromethorphan as a cough suppressant.
Mixing this ingredient with alcohol can be pretty hazardous for human health and well-being. Not only dextromethorphan but other cough suppressant drugs, including guaifenesin, cannot be mixed with alcohol as it can result in a chemical reaction in the body that may result in life-threatening symptoms.
Side Effects of Mixing Alcohol with Cough Syrup
Cough suppressants and alcohol both affect the central nervous system resulting in drowsiness, sleepiness, and euphoria. Alcohol may magnify the side effects of the medicines. For instance, if cough syrup causes drowsiness, taking alcohol right after may result in some very serious effects, including:
· Shallow breathing
· Difficulty in breathing
· Increased dizziness and weakness
· Brain lesions
· Excessive exhaustion
· Death in some cases.
Although some cough syrups do not seem to interact directly with alcohol, it’s recommended to skip consuming alcohol when suffering from disease or sickness.
Drinking alcohol may worsen the symptoms of your sickness and may result in dehydration and a weakened immune system.
Gulping down an alcoholic beverage after taking a cough medicine may also reduce its effectiveness and get in the way of medicine absorption in the body.
Prolonged illness and a weakened immune system may, in turn, result in serious health conditions such as bronchitis or pneumonia as the body is unable to combat viral infections and germs.
Always consult a physician if you plan on taking alcohol before or after consuming a cough medication.
How long after taking cough syrup can you drink alcohol?
You might now be well aware of the effects of combining alcohol with cough syrup. But that of course, does not mean you cannot take your drink while you are sick.
If you get that urge to sip on a chilled drink of beer after being sick all day, you must wait for at least a day (24 hours) after consuming a cough syrup.
Also, drink a lot of water after consuming alcohol to wear off its potential effects on your body. Health care providers also recommend avoiding indulging in activities such as cooking or driving a car after you drink, as it may interfere with body alertness and can be pretty dangerous.
What Should I Take to Cure My Cough If I Drink Alcohol?
If you are a habitual drinker and cannot seem to skip your alcohol for even a day, then unfortunately, there is nothing you can take to treat your symptoms of the cold.
A severe cough needs to be treated with proper medication. You must avoid drinking for a few days when you are sick. It’s better to wait rather than end up in a hospital emergency with life-threatening symptoms.
The side effects of combining alcohol with cough syrups can be deadly. We recommend you don’t take the risk for the sake of your health.
Also, glad tidings await if you skip your drink while you are sick. People tend to heal faster when they don’t drink. So, take your medicines on time, have a good sleep, and wait for a few days until you feel better to sip on those heavenly drinks that make you out of the world!
Home Remedies to Cure Cough
Some home remedies that you may try to treat your cough and cold symptoms if you don’t plan on skipping alcohol while you are sick include:
· Warm honey and water drink
· Ginger tea
· Few spoons of honey throughout the day
· Plenty of water
· Hot turmeric and milk drink
· Warm chicken soup
Combining Alcohol with Cough Syrup: Bottom Line
Generally, it is not recommended to take cough syrup and alcohol at the same time. You must wait to drink your beer or other alcoholic beverages until you recover. However, if you cannot skip your drink, wait at least 24 hours after taking your medicine to stay on the safe side and avoid the harmful side effects.
Always consult a healthcare provider when you plan on taking alcohol with your cough medicine. The information shared in this article provides general recommendations and is not an alternative to expert medical advice.
I am a passionate beer connoisseur with a deep appreciation for the art and science of brewing. With years of experience tasting and evaluating various beers, I love to share my opinions and insights with others and I am always eager to engage in lively discussions about my favorite beverage.