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.
Before cold and flu season gets into full swing, arm yourself against germs. To stave off the flu, start here: "Get a flu shot. That's the single most important thing you can do," says Aaron Glatt, MD, president and chief executive officer of St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage, N.Y.
If a cold or flu does catch you, make sure your medicine chest is stocked with everything you need to relieve your most miserable symptoms. WebMD's experts have the goods on the must-have cold and flu remedies this sea...
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.