Flu Survival Kit: A Self-Care Kit for Your Home
Keep these medicines and remedies on hand in case the flu bug bites.
Pay heed to the manufacturers' warnings about maximum doses, says Vibhuti
Arya, PharmD, a resident at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy,
Minneapolis, and a media spokeswoman for the American Pharmacists Association.
Never take a higher dose without checking first with your doctor or pharmacist.
(Higher doses than what is recommended by the manufacturer may be acceptable
for a short period of time, but only with your doctor’s approval, she
Cough Remedies for the Flu
What to Get: Two types of cough syrups are useful for surviving the
flu: an expectorant (which contains the ingredient guaifenesin) and a
suppressant (which contain the ingredient dextromethorphan).
What They Do, How to Use Them: Expectorant cough remedies should be
used when you have chest congestion and are trying to cough it out, says
Jonathan Arroyo, PharmD, the pharmacy manager at Texas Road Pharmacy in
Manalapan, N.J., and a member of the American Pharmacists Association. When you
are taking these cough syrups, be sure to drink eight glasses or more of water
and other fluids a day, he says. The fluids help clear congestion.
Suppressant cough remedies are best to use when the cough is dry and you
have no mucus, Arroyo says. (But if you are trying to sleep, and the cough
prevents you from rest, Arroyo sometimes suggests taking a suppressant
cough syrup before bed.)
Menthol cough drops can help soothe the throat soreness. They can be used
with expectorants, Arroyo says.
Nasal Sprays for Stuffy Noses
What to Get: Saline nasal sprays (nonmedicated) and oxymetazoline
(medicated) nasal sprays such as Afrin or NeoSnyephrine.
What They Do, How to Use Them: Saline nasal sprays can help clear out
the nose and the stuffiness that can accompany flu. "It might help you
breathe better," Arroyo says.
Nasal saline sprays can be used even a couple times an hour, says Roberts,
the family physician.
Medicated nasal sprays can be used by healthy adults, but Roberts advises no
more than three days of use. Longer use is associated with "rebound
Decongestants for Flu Symptoms