Most cold and flu drugs attack symptoms alone and not the specific viruses. They don't really cure, but they can bring temporary relief and lighter symptoms. Pain relief medicines, on the other hand, do somehow help alleviate or mitigate the oh-so-many different pains and aches associated with the common cold. However, like most things in life, these medicines have both benefits and risks, and with each exposed patient showing slightly varying bodily reactions. There's no one right way to treat a cold or the flu but there are a variety of treatment options you can choose from, with proper medical advice.
- Take medicines depending on your symptoms. For example, decongestants are good if you are suffering from nasal or sinus congestion while antihistamines go for runny nose and itchy watery eyes. If you have asthma, be careful not to take antihistamines.
- Most over-the-counter (OTC) drugs can make you drowsy while decongestants make you hyper, so it’s best not to take depressant drugs or downers if you don’t intend on filing a ‘sick leave.’
- Never take antibiotics for a cold. Wrong use of antibiotics will worsen your condition and may lead to further antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Talk to your doctor which medicine is best for you if you have other ailments aside from colds.
- OTC cold medications and pain relievers are a good remedy for older children and adults but can be fatal to children younger than the age of four. Keep in mind that cold medicines and pain relievers offer symptom relief, but they won't prevent a cold or shorten its duration, and most have side effects. Effective in relieving many types of body pains, OTC pain medications are of two types: acetaminophen (Tylenol) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen. You should know that acetaminophen causes liver damage for higher doses, so it would be much better to avoid giving them especially to children, the elderly and people with liver dysfunctions.
- When choosing Vitamin C or ascorbic acid for a cold, you may want to try the non-acidic or alkalized brands, especially if you intend on giving them to children and people with hyperacidity and stomach ulcers.
- Also, you should buy medicines from select drugstores duly approved and certified by the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) or the Food and Drug Authority (FDA).
Colds and fevers are actually a natural body phenomena, wherein your body defense systems rise up to eliminate certain pathogens. Coughing, sneezing, mucus secretions and lethargy are good signs that your body is fighting off infection and is up against a good resistance to eliminate viruses, bacteria and other invading microorganisms. Headaches and muscle pains are body signals for proper rest and recuperation. However, when there is need for medical intervention, you must practice vigilance and be well-advised about possible immediate side-effects and long-term effects upon taking pharmaceutical drugs. And it is a must to carefully read labels before selecting any cold medication to avoid over-exhaustion of your liver and kidneys.