Can You Buy Cough Drops with Food Stamps? Understanding the Eligibility Criteria

There are many things that you can buy with your SNAP benefits (also known as food stamps), but have you ever wondered if cough drops are on that list? Considering that these over-the-counter medicines can be pricey, it’s understandable if some people are curious about whether or not they can use their benefits to purchase them. After all, no one wants to be caught in the middle of a cold without any medication.

If you’re someone who relies on SNAP benefits and is wondering if you can buy cough drops with them, then you’ll be happy to know that the answer is yes. Cough drops are considered to be medical supplies, which means that they are eligible for purchase with your benefits. This is great news for those who are on a tight budget and need to stretch their benefits as much as possible.

However, it’s worth noting that not all cough drops are created equal. Some brands may be covered by your benefits, while others may not be. Additionally, if you’re someone who is looking for a particular type of cough drop, like one that’s sugar-free or has a certain flavor, then you may have to do a bit of research to find out which brands are covered by your benefits. But overall, the fact that cough drops are eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits is a huge relief for those who rely on them during cold and flu season.

Eligibility for Food Stamps

Food stamps, also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is a federal program that helps low-income individuals and families afford nutritious food. The eligibility criteria for food stamps vary from state to state, but there are some federal guidelines that need to be followed.

  • Gross income: To be eligible for food stamps, your gross income should be at or below 130% of the federal poverty level. This means that for a family of four, the gross income should not exceed $2,794 per month.
  • Net income: In addition to gross income, net income is also considered while determining eligibility for food stamps. After deducting certain expenses like rent, utilities, and dependent care, the net income should not exceed 100% of the federal poverty level.
  • Household size: The number of people in your household also factors into determining food stamp eligibility. The larger the household, the higher the income limit.
  • Immigration status: U.S. citizens and certain qualified non-citizens are eligible for food stamps. Non-citizens with a lawful non-citizen status or a humanitarian status may also be eligible.

The above criteria are general guidelines. Some states may have additional requirements for food stamp eligibility. It is important to check with your state’s SNAP agency to determine if you meet the eligibility criteria.

Types of over-the-counter medications covered by food stamps

When it comes to over-the-counter medications, it can be confusing to know which ones are covered by food stamps and which ones aren’t. In general, over-the-counter medications that are used to prevent or treat a medical condition may be eligible for purchase with food stamps. However, the exact medications that are covered can vary depending on the state you live in.

  • Cold and cough medications: Some states allow food stamps to be used to purchase cough drops, cough syrup, and cold medications.
  • Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen may be eligible for purchase with food stamps in some states.
  • Allergy medications: Antihistamines and nasal sprays used to treat allergies may be covered by food stamps in certain states.

It’s important to note that just because a medication is available without a prescription doesn’t mean it’s automatically eligible for purchase with food stamps. Your state may have specific regulations regarding the purchase of over-the-counter medications, so it’s always best to check with your local SNAP office to determine which medications are covered.

Medications not covered by food stamps

While many over-the-counter medications may be eligible for purchase with food stamps, there are some that are not covered. These include:

  • Vitamins and supplements
  • Weight loss supplements
  • Cosmetic treatments
  • Anything not used to prevent or treat a medical condition

If you’re unsure whether a particular medication is covered, check with your local SNAP office. It’s always better to ask and be sure than to get to the checkout only to find out that your purchase isn’t covered by food stamps.

State-specific regulations

As mentioned earlier, the specific over-the-counter medications that are covered by food stamps can vary by state. Some states have more lenient regulations than others, while others have stricter regulations. For example, California allows the purchase of vitamins and other supplements with food stamps, while Texas does not.

State OTC Medications Eligible for Purchase with Food Stamps
California Cold and cough medications, pain relievers, allergy medications, vitamins, and supplements
Texas Cold and cough medications, pain relievers, allergy medications
Florida Cold and cough medications, pain relievers, allergy medications
New York Cold and cough medications, pain relievers, allergy medications

It’s important to be aware of the regulations specific to your state, as they can impact which medications you’re able to purchase with food stamps. Be sure to check with your local SNAP office if you have any questions.

History of Food Stamps in the US

Since its implementation, food stamps have played a significant role in feeding millions of Americans in need. The program began in 1939 under the Agricultural Adjustment Act and initially distributed orange-colored stamps for the purchase of specified foods. However, it only covered a small percentage of the population and was temporary, ending in 1943.

The current food stamp program, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), began in 1961, and now serves approximately 40 million Americans annually. The program works by providing electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards that can be used to purchase food items at participating stores. These items include bread, cereal, fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, and dairy products among others.

The Expansion of the Food Stamp Program

  • The food stamp program expanded during the 1960s, and by 1974 it covered all states in the U.S.
  • In 1977, the Department of Agriculture established a national standard of eligibility for the program, which required participants to have an income of no more than 130% of the federal poverty line.
  • During the 1980s the program faced controversy and cuts to funding under the Reagan administration. It was radically changed and restrictively called the “block grant” by members of Congress who abolished the old “food stamps” program and replaced it with the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).

Impact of SNAP on Food Insecurity and Nutrition

The program has a significant impact on reducing food insecurity and ensuring that low-income individuals have access to a nutritious diet. Research has shown that SNAP leads to improved dietary intake and health outcomes, particularly for children and seniors, lifting millions out of poverty.

While some critics argue that SNAP enables recipients to purchase “luxury” items such as candy and soda, it is in fact highly regulated. The program has specific eligibility requirements, and SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase alcohol, tobacco, hot prepared foods, or non-food items such as pet food or cleaning supplies. Cough drops may be eligible for purchase with SNAP.

Overall, food stamps and the current SNAP program continue to be a crucial source of support for low-income Americans, serving as a lifeline to millions of people who would otherwise go hungry.

Year Average Participation Total Program Cost (Billions)
2020 39.7 million 68.1
2010 40.3 million 68.2
2000 17.2 million 17.2

Sources: USDA, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Prevalence of Cough and Cold in the US

Cough and cold are two of the most common respiratory illnesses in the United States. These conditions affect people of all ages and can cause a great deal of discomfort, especially during the winter months.

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are millions of cases of the common cold each year in the US, with adults experiencing an average of 2-3 colds per year and children experiencing even more.
  • The American Lung Association reports that acute bronchitis, which often accompanies a cold, affects approximately 5 percent of adults each year.
  • Coughing is one of the primary symptoms of both colds and bronchitis, and it is estimated that Americans spend billions of dollars annually on cough suppressants and other over-the-counter medications.

Given the high incidence of cough and cold in the US, it is not surprising that many people wonder whether they can use food stamps to buy cough drops and other treatment options.

While there is no easy answer to this question, it is possible to gain a better understanding of the rules and regulations regarding food stamp purchases and cough and cold remedies.

Food Stamp Regulations Cough and Cold Remedies
According to the USDA, food stamps cannot be used to purchase non-food items such as toiletries and household supplies. Cough drops are generally considered to be “medicines” rather than food items, so they may not be eligible for purchase with food stamps.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule, and states have some discretion in determining which non-food items are eligible for purchase with food stamps. Prescription medicines are not eligible for purchase with food stamps, but over-the-counter medications such as cough drops may be eligible in some cases.

Overall, it is important to check with your local food stamp program to determine whether you can use your benefits to purchase cough drops or other cough and cold remedies. While the rules vary by state, there may be some options available to help you manage these common, but uncomfortable, respiratory illnesses.

Top Selling Cough Drops in the US

When it comes to choosing the best cough drops to relieve nagging coughs, many factors come into play, including the ingredients, the brand reputation, and the flavor. However, some brands have stood out as the best-selling cough drops in the US, thanks to their proven efficacy, quality, and affordability.

  • Halls: This brand of cough drops has been a household name in the US and around the world for decades. Halls have a wide range of flavors, including honey-lemon, menthol, cherry, and more, and they are infused with menthol, eucalyptus oil, and other active ingredients that provide fast and long-lasting relief from cough and sore throat. Halls also offer sugar-free options for those who watch their sugar intake.
  • Ricola: Another popular cough drop brand in the US is Ricola, which originated in Switzerland. Ricola cough drops are made from natural herbs, such as mountain thyme, lemon balm, and elderflower, which provide a soothing effect on the throat and promote respiratory health. Ricola also offers a variety of flavors, such as cherry, green tea, honey-herb, and more.
  • Theraflu: Theraflu is a trusted brand that offers not only cough drops but also other cold and flu relief products, such as powders, syrups, and capsules. Theraflu cough drops are formulated with active ingredients like menthol, eucalyptus oil, and zinc gluconate, which help suppress cough and relieve nasal congestion and throat irritation.
  • Chloraseptic: Chloraseptic is a brand known for its sore throat remedies, including cough drops, sprays, and lozenges. Chloraseptic cough drops contain benzocaine and menthol, which provide instant relief from throat pain and coughing. Chloraseptic cough drops come in cherry, wild berries, honey-lemon, and more flavors.
  • Vicks: Finally, Vicks is a brand that has been synonymous with cold and flu relief for over a century. Vicks cough drops contain menthol, which has a cooling and soothing effect on the throat and helps alleviate cough and congestion. Vicks cough drops come in multiple flavors, such as cherry, honey, and menthol, and they are sugar-free.

The Bottom Line

Choosing the right cough drop can make a big difference in relieving your cough symptoms, and the above-listed brands are some of the best-selling ones in the US. However, it’s important to note that cough drops should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment and consultation, especially if the cough persists or comes with other symptoms like fever, chest pain, or difficulty breathing.

The Top Selling Cough Drops in The US Table

Brand Active Ingredients Flavors Price Range
Halls Menthol, Eucalyptus Oil, Peppermint Oil Menthol, Cherry, Honey-Lemon, and more $2-$9
Ricola Mountain Thyme, Lemon Balm, Elderflower, and more Wild Cherry, Lemon Mint, Honey-Herb, and more $3-$10
Theraflu Zinc gluconate, Menthol, Eucalyptus Oil Menthol, Cherry, Honey-Lemon, and more $4-$12
Chloraseptic Benzocaine, Menthol, Eucalyptus Oil Cherry, Wild Berries, Honey-Lemon, and more $4-$8
Vicks Menthol Menthol, Cherry, Honey, and more $3-$8

Prices may vary depending on the quantity of cough drops and the retailer.

Side effects of cough drops

Cough drops are used to relieve the symptoms of coughing, one of the most common symptoms of respiratory infections. However, even these over-the-counter medications can come with some side effects. It is essential to understand these side effects before consuming a cough drop to prevent any adverse reactions or complications.

  • Dizziness: Some cough drops contain sedatives that can make you feel dizzy or lightheaded. These drugs can cause drowsiness, especially if you take more than the recommended dose.
  • Allergic reactions: Cough drops may contain ingredients that may trigger an allergic reaction in some people, such as menthol, eucalyptus, and honey. People with allergies to these ingredients should avoid cough drops.
  • Stomach problems: Several people may have gastric issues if they consume cough drops. Menthol, an ingredient present in almost all kinds of cough drops, can cause stomach issues such as indigestion and bloating.

Cough drop overdose symptoms

It is always recommended to take cough drops according to the instructions on the label, but sometimes, people may overdose or take too many cough drops. Consuming cough drops in excessive amounts can cause several side effects.

The symptoms of a cough drop overdose are agitation, anxiety, blurred vision, confusion, dry mouth, hallucinations, rapid heartbeat, muscle stiffness, seizures, and tremors. If you suspect an overdose of cough drops, seek immediate medical attention.

Interaction with other medications

Cough drops can interact with other medications and cause adverse effects. People taking other medications should inform their doctors before taking cough drops. They should consult their pharmacists or doctors about the potential interactions before using cough drops.

Medications that may interact with cough drops Side effects of the interactions
Warfarin (blood-thinning medication) Cough drops containing menthol may increase the risk of bleeding
Antihistamines and sedatives The effects of these medications may be enhanced when taken with cough drops containing sedatives

In conclusion, cough drops may have side effects that require proper precautions and understanding. One should always follow the recommended dose and avoid cough drops when diagnosed with allergies or certain health conditions. Consult a medical professional before taking cough drops if you are taking other medications or have any underlying health issues.

Use of cough drops during pregnancy

When it comes to cough drops, many pregnant women wonder if they are safe to use. While pregnant women should always consult their healthcare provider before taking any medication or supplements, cough drops are generally considered safe to use during pregnancy.

  • Cough drops are a form of medication that helps soothe sore throats and decrease coughing.
  • Most cough drops contain menthol, which is considered safe to use during pregnancy in small doses. However, excessive menthol use can lead to complications, so it is important to follow the recommended dosage listed on the package.
  • Some cough drops may contain other ingredients such as eucalyptus or honey, which are also safe to use during pregnancy.

However, it is important to note that not all cough drops are created equal. Some may contain ingredients that are not safe to use during pregnancy, such as aspirin or ibuprofen. It is important to read the label carefully and consult with a healthcare provider before use.

If a pregnant woman is experiencing a persistent cough or sore throat that does not improve with the use of cough drops, she should contact her healthcare provider for further evaluation and treatment.

Safe Cough Drop Ingredients During Pregnancy
– Menthol
– Eucalyptus
– Honey

When used as directed, cough drops can provide relief for pregnant women experiencing coughs and sore throats. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before using any medication or supplements during pregnancy.

Home remedies for cough and cold

If you’re feeling under the weather but don’t want to run to the store, there are several home remedy options to help soothe your cough and cold symptoms. Here are eight natural solutions:

  • Hydration: Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do when you have a cough or cold. Drink plenty of fluids like water, herbal tea, and broths to help thin mucus and keep your throat lubricated.
  • Warm liquids: Drinking warm liquids like tea with honey or lemon, or chicken soup, can help soothe a sore throat and reduce congestion.
  • Gargling: Gargling with warm salt water can help reduce inflammation and loosen mucus.
  • Steam: Inhaling steam from a hot shower or a bowl of hot water with a towel over your head can help loosen mucus and relieve congestion.
  • Honey: Honey has natural antibacterial properties and can help soothe a sore throat. Add a spoonful to warm tea or simply eat it straight from the jar.
  • Vaporub: Applying vaporub to your chest and throat can help reduce coughing and improve breathing by providing a cooling sensation and releasing natural aromatics.
  • Rest: Getting plenty of rest is crucial when you’re sick. Your body needs time to recover, and your immune system works best when you’re well-rested.
  • Vitamins and nutrients: Eating a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help boost your immune system and fight off illness.

Herbal remedies for cough and cold

There are a variety of herbal remedies that can also help treat cough and cold symptoms:

Some of these include:

  • Echinacea: This herb is often used to help treat colds and flu. It’s believed to boost the immune system and help fight off infection.
  • Garlic: Garlic has natural antibacterial and antiviral properties and can help fight off infections.
  • Ginger: Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce coughing and soothe a sore throat.
  • Peppermint: Peppermint has natural decongestant properties and can help reduce coughing and congestion when taken as a tea.
  • Thyme: Thyme has natural antibacterial properties and can help relieve coughing and congestion when taken as a tea.

The science behind home remedies

While there isn’t always scientific evidence to support every home remedy, many have been used for centuries and are thought to be safe and effective.

Remedy Scientific evidence
Honey Several studies have shown honey to be effective in treating coughs and sore throats. Its antibacterial properties may also help fight off infections.
Vaporub Studies have shown vaporub to be effective in reducing coughing and improving breathing in children with upper respiratory infections. However, more research is needed to determine its effectiveness in adults.
Peppermint Peppermint oil has been found to have natural decongestant properties and may also help relieve headaches and sinus pain. However, more research is needed to determine its effectiveness as a treatment for coughs and colds.
Garlic Several studies have shown garlic to have natural antibacterial and antiviral properties. However, more research is needed to determine its effectiveness as a treatment for coughs and colds.

Overall, home remedies can be a safe, effective way to treat cough and cold symptoms without relying on medication. However, if your symptoms persist or worsen, it’s important to seek medical attention.

Marketing strategies used for cough drops

Marketing of cough drops is a crucial aspect of the pharmaceutical industry. It involves creating brand awareness, promoting various features of cough drops, and increasing sales. Here are some of the marketing strategies used for cough drops:

  • Advertisement: Advertising is one of the most common strategies used for cough drops. Companies use different mediums like television, social media, newspapers, magazines, and billboards to reach a vast audience. These advertisements usually highlight the features of the cough drops and how they can help in providing relief from cough and cold.
  • Celebrity endorsement: Companies often collaborate with celebrities and influencers to endorse their cough drops. This strategy helps the companies to reach their target audience more effectively. The celebrities usually talk about how the cough drops have helped them in their journey and create a personal connection with the audience.
  • Packaging and labeling: Packaging and labeling play a significant role in attracting customers. Companies use bright colors, attractive designs, and fonts to make their cough drops stand out on the shelves. They also highlight the ingredients and benefits of the cough drops on the packaging.

In addition to the above strategies, companies also focus on providing excellent customer service, creating different flavors of cough drops, and ensuring their availability in different stores.

Alternatives to cough drops for soothing a sore throat.

While cough drops are a popular option for treating sore throats, there are numerous alternatives that can help soothe the discomfort. Here are some alternatives:

  • Hot Tea with Honey – Honey has antibacterial properties and can help to coat your throat, which can help reduce soreness. Drinking hot tea can help to loosen mucus and reduce inflammation. Peppermint or chamomile tea can also help to soothe the throat.
  • Gargling Salt Water – Gargling salt water can help to break down mucus and reduce inflammation. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and gargle it for 30 seconds a few times a day.
  • Throat Lozenges – Throat lozenges can provide relief much like cough drops, and some options are available at an affordable price. Try looking for store-brand options or buying in bulk to keep costs low.

If you prefer to avoid over-the-counter medications or cannot afford to buy cough drops, these alternatives are excellent options to help soothe your throat. However, it is important to note that if symptoms persist or worsen, you should consult a doctor.

Herbal Remedies for a Sore Throat

Herbal remedies are a natural option that can help to soothe a sore throat. Some options include:

  • Marshmallow root – Marshmallow root contains mucilage, which can coat and soothe an irritated throat. Use it as a tea or add the dried root to a broth or soup.
  • Licorice root – Licorice root has demulcent and anti-inflammatory properties which can help soothe an irritated throat. You can make a tea with licorice root or find licorice root lozenges at most health food stores.
  • Echinacea – Echinacea is often used for colds and flu, but it can also help reduce inflammation and soothe a sore throat. Use the herb as a tea or in tincture form.

Herbal remedies can be an affordable option to treat sore throats. It is essential to check with a healthcare professional for advice before using herbal remedies as there can be side effects and interactions with other medications.

Home Remedies for a Sore Throat

Home remedies are easy to make and can offer relief for a sore throat. Here are some home remedies worth trying:

  • Baking Soda Gargle – Baking soda can help soothe an irritated throat. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with a glass of warm water and gargle the solution. Do this a few times a day.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties, which can help to kill germs that cause a sore throat. Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a glass of warm water and gargle.
  • Moisture – Dry air can irritate a sore throat, so adding moisture to the air can help. Try using a humidifier or taking a steamy shower to add moisture to the air.

Home remedies are often affordable and easy to make. It is important to note that if symptoms persist or worsen, it is best to seek medical advice.


While cough drops are an efficient remedy for sore throat, alternatives such as hot tea, saltwater gargling, throat lozenges, and herbal remedies can be just as effective and affordable. Home remedies such as baking soda gargle, apple cider vinegar, and moisture can also bring relief. In any case, it is essential to check with a healthcare professional before starting any alternative treatment.

Remedy Cost Effectiveness
Hot Tea with Honey Affordable Effective
Gargling Salt Water Very affordable Effective
Throat Lozenges Affordable Effective
Herbal Remedies Affordable Effective
Home Remedies Very affordable Effective

Overall, there are plenty of alternatives to cough drops available that can help relieve a sore throat. The table above shows that these alternatives are often affordable and effective. By trying one or a combination of these remedies, you can find relief for your sore throat without having to worry about the cost of cough drops.

That’s the Scoop on Cough Drop Availability with Food Stamps

Thanks for tuning in and reading about whether or not you can purchase cough drops with food stamps. It’s always good to know what items are eligible with government assistance when you find yourself in need. If you enjoyed this article or found it helpful, be sure to visit our website again for more informative and entertaining content. Stay healthy, folks!