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What Can I Buy for Fast Relief From a Cold or the Flu?

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#5 What Should I Take for Fever and Aches?

Fever may be a good thing. It helps the body fight off infection by suppressing the growth of bacteria and viruses and activating the immune system. Doctors no longer recommend suppressing fever for most people, except perhaps for the very young, the very old, and those with certain medical conditions such as heart disease or lung disease. However, if you are uncomfortable, it's fine to take these medications. Young people (including those in their early 20s), however, should avoid aspirin. Tylenol, or other medicines with acetaminophen, and Advil, or other medicines with ibuprofen, are best. Each type of medicine has its own set of risks, so check with your doctor or pharmacist as to which type of pain reliever or fever reducer is best for you. 

Be careful not to overdose! These drugs are often mixed in with cough and cold and flu remedies. Read the labels and don't take a separate pain remedy if your cough or cold medicine includes it. If you are unsure about the ingredients, talk to your pharmacist before taking the medicine.

#6 What's Best for My Sore Throat?

Drinking lots of fluids and using salt water gargles (made by combining a cup of warm water and a teaspoon of salt) can often be helpful for easing the pain of a sore throat. Some oral medications (such as Tylenol) and medicated lozenges and gargles can also temporarily soothe a sore throat. Get your doctor's approval before using any medications, including over-the-counter drugs, and don't use lozenges or gargles for more than a few days. The drugs could mask signs of strep throat, a bacterial infection that should be treated with antibiotics.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on July 14, 2014
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