Are you laid up with a bad cold? There's no cure, but lots of medicines can give you some relief from the coughing, sneezing, and stuffiness that go with it.
When you head to the pharmacy to look for an over-the-counter drug, keep in mind there's no such thing as a "perfect" cold medicine. A medication that does the job for your friend may not work for you.
You can take all the precautions in the world, but sometimes the flu sneaks around your defenses. So what do you do when someone in your house has the flu -- or even swine flu?
To give you an idea, here's a countdown of five average days with the flu. Keep in mind that this rundown is based on a typical case of seasonalflu. There's still a lot we don't know about swine flu. But so far, its symptoms seem to be pretty similar to those of common seasonal flu viruses.
Here's what you need to know when you search for relief.
Should I take a decongestant or an antihistamine?
It depends on what's bothering you. If your nose and sinuses are stuffed up, a decongestant may help. You can use it alone or combine it with an antihistamine. Remember, though, it can increase your heart rate and may cause anxiety or make it hard to fall asleep.
If you have a runny nose or sneezing, try an antihistamine. Some types may have diphenhydramine, which can make you drowsy. Be careful if you need to drive or use machinery. You can also try non-sedating antihistamines, which don't make you as sleepy.
Dry mouth is another common side effect of antihistamines.
Is it safe to take a decongestant if I have high blood pressure?