Flu Medication: Are you choosing the right medication to relieve your cold or flu symptoms?
Are you choosing the right medication to relieve your cold or flu symptoms?
You are suffering from cold or flu and not sure what medication to take to relieve its symptoms? The toughest part comes when you are in the cold and flu medication aisle with hundreds of options to choose from and you are not sure which can help to alleviate your cold symptoms.
In this case, the patient may turn to more than one over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, without realizing that many cold and cough medicines contain similar active ingredients and may cause serious side effects or complications due to overdose. The number of choices can be overwhelming. The best bet here will be to look for the symptoms and choose your medication accordingly only to treat your symptoms. Never get tempted to take multi-symptom cold medicine unless you have all or most of the mentioned symptoms.
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Below is the Flu Symptom guide to help you make a safe choice:
Congestion and Stuffy nose:
A decongestion should be taken to relieve stuffy nose as it shrinks nasal passage and helps loosen mucus so you can expel it. Medicated nasal sprays are good for temporary relief however it should not be used for more than 3 days without consulting the doctor as it can make congestion worse. Saline nasal sprays are much safer and can be used as and when required. Also, saline sprays sometimes provide better relief than medicated ones.
Expectorants is one of the types of over-the-counter cough medicines that help with the wet cough that has phlegm. Expectorants work by thinning the mucus thus making it easy for the patient to cough and drain it out easily.
The other type of over-the-counter cough medicines is cough suppressants. This medication is mainly used to suppress a dry cough without mucus. The most common cough suppressant is dextromethorphan. All the products containing dextromethorphan are labeled with name DM on it.
Fever, Aches, and Sore throat:
Acetaminophen helps alleviate fever however ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen helps with the sore throat, headache, body aches, and fever too. Cough drops or throat lozenges can be used to soothe the sore throat. The person should never take an additional pain reliever if the cold medication already has it to avoid overdose. These medicines should not be consumed if you have kidney problems, liver problems or drink a lot of alcohol.
Most cold or flu medicines are made to treat multiple symptoms however always use your discretion while using them as they may provide you with a medication you do not need to take. If your multi-symptom medicine treat headache and cough but you only have a headache and not cough then do not take it instead use the medicine meant to treat headache. Unnecessary use of any kind of medicine is not advisable.
Children’s cough medicine:
It can also cause serious risks for children if consumed without caution. Children under the age of 2 years should not be given any over-the-counter medication. Always consult the doctor about the cold or flu medicine for children between 2 years to 6 years. In the case of doctor’s approval too always administer the medicine with caution ensuring no two or more dose has a similar ingredient and proper time span has been taken care of to avoid accidental overdose.
If all of the above factors are taken into consideration you can start to improve your cold or flu in a week or so however if the symptoms do not improve and get worse, consult your healthcare provider immediately.