The Best Over-the-Counter Cold Medicines

The Best Over-the-Counter Cold Medicines1

When you catch a cold, its almost as if the walls of your world are falling down. Your whole system gets all blocked, with a hot/cold sensation within. OTC drugs might not always be the best method but they certainly are effective. Over-the-counter medicines won’t cure your cold, but they might make you feel better, so you can rest as it runs its course. Below are few OTC drugs that are effective on cold.

When you have a cold, it can be hard to sort through the dizzying array of over-the-counter cold medications. But many cold medications contain just a few types of drugs. The key is to check the list of ingredients and match the right drug to your symptoms. Make sure you understand what the medicine is for before you buy it. Here’s a look at some common products and what they can do for you.

1. Stuffy Nose

Decongestants ease the swelling in your nose and sinuses, making it easier to breathe. There are two types: pills/syrups and nasal sprays. Its wiser if you start off with the nasal spray and move onto the pills/syrups. Why? Because they work faster. Anytime you see “D” at the end of a medicine’s name, it means it includes a decongestant. Always go for products with phenylephrine/pseudoephedrine/oxymetazoline. Do not take both decongestants together.

2. Runny Nose, Watery Eyes, and Sneezing

Cold causes our body to produce histamines. Histamines lead to sneezing, a runny nose, and watery eye. Over-the-counter antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine block this process and can relieve those symptoms. They can also make you sleepy and dry out your eyes, nose, and mouth.

3. Cough

When it becomes really bad then you know its time to get the cough suppressants. Drugs like dextromethorphan, can provide relief for a short time. They work on the part of your brain that controls the process. Expectorants, like guaifenesin, can break up congestion in your chest by thinning the mucus in your airways. This way, when you do cough, you can get rid of phlegm more easily. Drink plenty of water if you take this medicine.

4. Fever, Aches, and Sore Throat

These symptoms are usually mild with a cold compared to a more serious illness, like the flu. Still, if you feel bad and can’t rest, most experts agree it’s OK to take something to ease pain and lower a fever, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Always check drug labels for side effects, and follow the instructions for taking the medicine. Make sure it won’t mix poorly with any other medications you’re taking or health problems you have — ask your doctor or pharmacist if you’re not sure.

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