With so many over-the-counter medications available to treat cold and flu symptoms, it is hard to know which ones to choose. Here, you will find just a sample of over-the-counter cold and flu medications. To decide which one is right for you, figure out what your symptoms are and which medication will provide the most relief from those symptoms.
A few medications are available over the counter for runny noses, sneezing and itching. These are known as antihistamines. They will help dry up your runny nose and stop you from sneezing and itching so much.
Several different medications are available over the counter for bringing down fevers and relieving minor aches and pains. They are sold under brand names such as Tylenol, Motrin and Aleve and also come in generic form. Be sure to find out which one is right for you and your family before taking pain relievers and fever reducers.
Having a stuffed up head can not only be uncomfortable, but it can also lead to headaches and sinus infections. A few options are available if you are looking for an over the counter medication to get rid of your congestion. They are known as decongestants.
In the US, pseudoephedrine (PSE) is now available only behind the pharmacy counter but still without a prescription. Several drug companies, including the makers of Sudafed, have replaced PSE with a medication called phenylephrine. It is available in the cold and flu aisle.
A cough is one of those annoying symptoms that is hard to treat. You never know if you need to do something about it or what could be causing it. You may want to evaluate your cough before taking cough medication. If you decide that an over-the-counter cough medication would be right for you, a choice still must be made between one that breaks up your chest congestion (expectorant) and one that stops your cough (suppressant). It is important to be sure you are taking the right over-the-counter cough medication.
If you have more than one symptom you need to treat, which most people do when they get a cold or the flu, you may want to consider a medication that treats multiple symptoms. Many options are available, just make sure you are taking one that treats only the symptoms you have. Taking medication for symptoms you do not have is not only unnecessary, but it can also be dangerous.
Many people prefer natural or herbal treatments when it comes to their health. These can be good options, but it is important to talk with your doctor about what herbs you are taking. They can interact with other medications you may be on or be dangerous for people with certain diseases. Because herbal supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, they do not always list potential side effects or interactions with other drugs.