Colder weather, as well as the cold and flu season, will soon be here as the summer draws to a close and September sets in. Every year, millions of Indians experience the common cold, frequently more than once. Many people will use over-the-counter (OTC) drugs available for comfort without a prescription to treat coughs and runny noses.
Getting some relief at the pharmacy? First, read this:
OTC medications can alleviate some symptoms of the cold or flu, but they do not treat or speed up the illness. However, choosing a product that meets your needs might not be so simple, and finding the best tablet for cough is not as easy as it may seem.
How to select cough and cold medications safely?
How then do you choose from so many similar items? In the beginning, be aware that many products include more active components than you require. In addition, those additional active components may mix with other medications you take and cause negative effects.
- The easiest piece of advice is to look at the list of ingredients on the container and choose a product that specifically addresses your symptoms.
- A pain medication like acetaminophen or even a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen will work for sore throat, headache, and muscular aches. These also work to reduce fever.
- An antihistamine like chlorpheniramine can help with symptoms including runny noses, watery eyes, and sneezing.
- When using an antihistamine throughout the day, caution is suggested because it can make you drowsy.
- Temporarily, decongestants like phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine relieve nasal congestion. Decongestants, however, have been linked to agitation and insomnia.
- If you suffer from diabetes, glaucoma or heart disease, elevated blood pressure, prostate issues, or thyroid issues, talk to your doctor or any pharmacists before taking any of these medications. Certain decongestants can be used as nasal sprays.
- These shouldn’t be taken for longer than three days since rebound congestion may result from continued use.
- Guaifenesin, which can assist clean mucus, or dextromethorphan, a coughing suppressant, are common constituents in cough medicines. They offer minimal, if any, alleviation. Guaifenesin is generally considered to be safe, however excessive dextromethorphan use might raise blood pressure, lead to irregular pulse, and leave you feeling lightheaded.
What to watch out for?
- Despite glitzy marketing and an ever-expanding product line, over-the-counter remedies for coughs, colds, and the flu only offer little alleviation for certain symptoms that will go completely by themselves without any help.
- Be aware that a majority of Pediatrics do not advise giving children younger than the age of six including cough and cold remedies.
- Make sure you don’t take the same ingredient twice if you’re taking multiple products. Many cough and cold remedies, as well as some prescription pain relievers, contain acetaminophen in particular. Check the labels since while it is safe in little amounts, exceeding a certain limit of ingredients daily can be harmful to the liver.
Even some of the best tablets for cough and cold may contain chemicals in the majority of these products that have potentially harmful side effects.
Do carefully study labels and avoid assuming they seem to be safe for you. When in doubt, consult a pharmacist or your doctor.
Inform your doctor of every medication and dietary supplement you are taking. Taking products or packets to your visit as a branded product may not provide adequate details.