Sick in Bed

Now that colder weather has settled in, we’ll be spending more time cooped up indoors next to our sneezing coworkers.

That means, despite your best efforts, you might find yourself hit with a nasty cold or even the flu this winter. And once you’re sidelined with a cold or flu, you have no choice but to let it run its course. Even though there may not be a cure for the cold or the flu, you can take steps to make yourself more comfortable.

Over-the-counter medications can help to relieve some of the symptoms that accompany the common cold and flu. Yet, there are so many options out there, it can be difficult to understand what medicines can offer the most amount of relief for particular symptoms. So, when you start to struggle with a cough, fever, or stuffy nose, how do you know what type of medicine to take?

Over-The-Counter Medications For The Common Cold

Use an analgesic or antipyretic (like Tylenol, Bayer, Aleve, Advil, or Motrin) for:

  • Headaches
  • Generalized aches/pains
  • Facial Pain
  • Sore throat or hoarseness
  • Fever

Use an antihistamine (like Dimetapp, Benadryl, Chlortrimeton, Tavist, Claritin, Zyrtec, Dramamine, NyQuil, or Allegra) for:

  • Itchy nose/eyes/throat
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose

Use a decongestant (like Sudafed 12 Hour, Neo-Synephrine, or Afrin) for:

  • Stuffy nose/congestion

Use an antitussive (like Robitussin DM) for:

  • Dry cough

Use an expectorant (like Mucinex) for:

  • Productive cough

If you have a cold or flu and feel as if you’re not getting better after several days or a week, it’s important to visit a doctor to make sure it hasn’t morphed into something more serious. Visit UPMC Urgent Care to receive immediate attention when you need it most.