The last thing you need to deal with when you have a cold or the flu is making tough decisions. However, any veteran of the over-the-counter (OTC) drug aisle at the drugstore knows that the options are enormous.
“It’s very confusing because there are so many different products out there.” Says Richard Striver, MD. Former dean of the Alabama College of Community Health Sciences in Tuscaloosa. “People should read the labels. I tell people. Especially the elderly, to bring their magnifying glass with you because the print is so small.
When you look at the labels for different cold and flu drug options. Pay attention to the following information, which, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), should appear in this order:
- Active ingredients of the product, including the amount in each dose
- The purpose of the product
- Product uses (instructions).
Note: According to the September 1, 2019 issue of American Family Physician. Over-the-counter cold medicines should not be used to treat children under 4 years. Of age because of the lack of benefits and a lower risk of serious complications
- Important information to help you avoid the product’s inactive ingredients, and ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction
The best way to choose cold and flu medication is by symptom
The key to choosing the right product or products to help you get better faster is to focus on your symptoms. Also important: Whenever possible. Stick to one-ingredient solutions to lower the risk of side effects. Says Nate Favigny, MD, internist and medical director of the Nationwide Healthcare System Forward.
“Select medicines that directly treat symptoms or symptoms that bother you, rather than ones that combine a number of unnecessary ingredients,” he suggests. For example, if a cold or flu medicine label says it treats a fever, cough, and runny nose but you only have a cough, choose as a simple cough substitute.
The best medicine for nagging cough:
Cough suppressants, Called antitussives, block the cough reflex in the brain. The common cough suppressant dextromethorphan (DXM or DM) is found only in products such as Robitussin Cough Gels and CVS Health Tussin Cough Liquid Gels, or in combination with other active ingredients such as Vicks Dayquil Cough and Delsym DM Cough + Chest Congestion Relief. liquid
Expectorants One such as guaifenesin (Mucinex, Guay-Aid) works primarily by thinning mucus so that it is easier to cough up and expel.
Antihistamines Histamine block, a chemical secreted by the body that causes a runny nose and watery eyes. “The cough is caused by postnasal drip mucus and other secretions that irritate the nerves at the back of the throat in which case draining the source with an antihistamine is the best treatment,” explains Dr. Favini. Widely used brands include Benadryl Allergy, Cold, and Actifed Cold.
You can treat sneezing, runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes using these remedies:
Antihistamines, As mentioned earlier, are often found in combination with cold and flu medicines because they help treat wheezing, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes and are excellent medicines for drying up a runny nose. Options include doxylamine (NyQuil, Alka-Seltzer Plus Nighttime Cold Medicine), brompheniramine (Robitussin Cold and Allergy, Demetab Cold, Allergy Elixir), and diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Nitol). Some antihistamines help you sleep through the night because they can cause drowsiness.
Taking the following medicine will relieve stuffy noses and sinus headaches:
Decongestants The blood vessels and swollen tissues in your nose constrict, making it easier to breathe. One type, pseudoephedrine (Contac Cold 12 Hour, Sudafed), is sold over the counter but only over the counter and in limited quantities because it can be used to make the illegal drug methamphetamine.
Nasal decongestant sprays that contain the active ingredient oxymetazoline (Afrin, Synex) work best at reducing apnea after just one dose, according to research in the December 1. 2019 issue of the journal Rhinology. However, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. You should not use these sprays for more than three days in a row or else your stuffy nose may get worse. Preservative-free nasal sprays (Ayr, Flo Saline Plus), which contain small amounts. Of saline diluted in sterile water to help moisten inflamed nasal passages, are safe for daily use for people of all ages.
If you need relief from fever, sore throat, or aches and pains, use the following medicine:
Acetaminophen, Known by the brand name Tylenol, it is primarily used as a fever reducer, although research in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews suggests that it can also relieve cold-related aches and pains. Acetaminophen is generally safe for most people when consumed as prescribed. And Vicks Dayquil Cold and Flu Acute Relief Caplets.
Because acetaminophen overdoses can cause serious liver damage. Avoid using more than one product that contains it at one time to avoid exceeding the Food and Drug Administration’s. Recommended daily dose of 3,000 milligrams (mg) for a 24-hour period.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve), which reduce fever and inflammation throughout the body. Other research in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that NSAIDs significantly reduced the discomfort caused by headache. Earache, muscle pain. Joint pain, and sneezing.
Note: Some cold and flu remedies, such as Excedrin, contain both acetaminophen and NSAIDs.
Numbing throat sprays and lozenges Local anesthetics made of benzocaine (Vicks Vapocool), dyclonine (Sepacol), or phenol (Chloraseptic) temporarily relieve sore throat pain.
If you still have trouble navigating the cold medicine aisle, talk to your pharmacist. With just a few dedicated instructions around the ingredients, you can enjoy better symptom relief.
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