When you feel like you're coming down with a cold, you don't need a crystal ball to figure out what's next. Sneezing and coughing, for sure. Maybe a headache, sore throat, or a runny nose. But for some folks, that's not all. Achy muscles can be a problem, too.
Want some relief? You don't have to look much further than your neighborhood pharmacy.
If you're one of those people who brag, come flu season, that you "never, ever get sick," be aware: The odds may catch up to you. Every year, about 5% to 20% of U.S. residents get influenza, according to estimates from the CDC.
Taking certain antiviral drugs within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms can shorten the duration of the flu, but that involves recognizing you have the flu, getting in touch with your doctor, and going to the pharmacist before the 48 hours is up.
Just in case your number...
If you take them properly and follow the label instructions, OTC painkillers are safe for most people. But if you need pain relief for more than 10 days, talk to your doctor.
Although they're usually safe, side effects can occur and may be quite serious for some people. For instance, if you use blood-thinning medicine or have active stomach or bowel ulcers, don't take aspirin or other NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen.