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.
Do you hear that coughing sound? It's cold and flu season, and people all around you are coughing. Why?
"Coughing is a normal, protective reflex," says Neil Schachter, MD, author of The Good Doctor's Guide to Colds and Flu. "We cough to clear our airways," he explains.
Think of coughing as a defense mechanism designed to rid your lungs and windpipe of substances that don't belong there. In the case of colds, this intruder is usually mucus, which builds up more than the airways can comfortably...
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.