How To Choose The Right Cold And Flu Medicines

cold and flu medicines
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The majority of cold and flu medicines target symptoms rather than the viruses that cause the illnesses. They aren’t a cure, but they may help you feel better and speed up the healing process.

Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 14th February 2022.

How To Choose The Right Cold And Flu Medicines

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating a cold or flu. However, there are a few things you can ask your pharmacist to ensure you receive the right over-the-counter cold and flu medicines.

Should I take a decongestant or an antihistamine?

Your symptoms determine this. A decongestant may assist if you have nasal or sinus congestion. An antihistamine may help if you experience drainages, such as a runny nose, postnasal drip, or itchy, watery eyes.

Antihistamines sold over the counter may cause drowsiness. Decongestants may cause hyperactivity or keep you awake. Antihistamines may cause mucus to thicken, which can be a concern for asthmatic patients.

These medicines may interact poorly with other medications, such as those used to treat heart disease, and may exacerbate certain conditions, such as high blood pressure. Consult your doctor or pharmacist to determine which options are the best cold and flu medicines for you.

Is it safe to take a decongestant if I have high blood pressure?

This medication may elevate blood pressure and heart rate and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The primary decongestant that may be taken by mouth is pseudoephedrine. In general, if your blood pressure is adequately managed with medication, a decongestant should not be a concern as long as your blood pressure is carefully monitored. This may not be the case with all blood pressure medications, so talk to your doctor or pharmacist about what’s best for you.

How often should I use the nasal spray?

Nasal decongestants expand your airways quickly and are good cold and flu medicines. However, if you use them for more than three days in a row, you may get more stuffy than before.

Instead of utilising a medicinal spray, some doctors recommend using a saline spray. It may take a little longer to function, but you won’t have any issues in the long run.

What’s the deal with cough medicine?

Coughing once in a while helps to clean the muck out of your lungs. One that persists, on the other hand, requires treatment.

Cough medications with a billion combinations of decongestants, antihistamines, analgesics/antipyretics, cough suppressants, and expectorants may be found on the market and might work well as cold and flu medicines. Inquire with your pharmacist about which medications, if any, are appropriate for you.

What should I take for fever and aches?

A fever may be beneficial. It stimulates your immune system and aids in the battle against illness by destroying germs and viruses.

Except for highly young or elderly individuals, or those who have specific medical problems like heart illness or lung disease, doctors no longer recommend that you attempt to reduce it. It’s acceptable to use a fever-reducing medicine if you’re feeling unwell.

Aspirin should be avoided by young individuals, especially those in their early twenties. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen-containing medications are the most effective cold and flu medicines. Each has its own set of dangers, so see your doctor or pharmacist determine best for you.

Be cautious not to overdo it. These medications are often included in cough, cold, and flu treatments. Read the labels carefully, and don’t take a pain reliever if your cough or cold medication already contains one. Before you take it, ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about what’s in it.

What’s best for my sore throat?

Drink plenty of water and gargle with salt water for relief. Mix a cup of warm water with a teaspoon of salt to create it. Some over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, medicated lozenges, and gargles, may temporarily relieve a sore throat.

Before you take anything, including over-the-counter medications, get your doctor’s approval. Use lozenges or gargles just for a few days at a time. The medicines may conceal symptoms of strep throat, a bacterial illness that requires antibiotic treatment.


  2. The American Academy of Family Physicians.

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