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Hack It Up
When you have a bad cough, don't down tablespoonfuls of heavy-duty cough suppressants. The ingredient you want to avoid is dextromethorphan. Suppressants short-circuit the brain signals that control the urge to cough. If you're coughing up matter, you need to let your body do its work. Stop this process and all the troublemakers stay in your lungs, where they can breed and set the stage for a nasty secondary infection. Instead, look for an over-the-counter remedy that says "expectorant"--the active ingredient will be guaifenesin, a chemical that liquefies the crud down there and makes it easier to cough up.