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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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Which Medicine Will Help Your Cold or Flu?

ANALGESICS

MEDICATIONS:
Acetaminophen
 SYMPTOMS
 
FeverAches
Pains
CongestionSinus
Pressure
Runny
Nose
Watery
Eyes
CoughSore
Throat
 
Tylenol®XX X X
 
Children's Tylenol®XX X X
 
COMMENTS: Acetaminophen is not associated with gastrointestinal distress. It is the first choice among analgesics for the cold and flu.
 
 
Aspirin  SYMPTOMS
 
FeverAches
Pains
CongestionSinus
Pressure
Runny
Nose
Watery
Eyes
CoughSore
Throat
 
Ascriptin®XX X X
 
Bayer®XX X X
 
Anacin®XX X X
 
COMMENTS: Aspirin should not be used in children with flu or cold symptoms because it has been associated with the development of Reye Syndrome.
 
 
Ibuprofen  SYMPTOMS
 
FeverAches
Pains
CongestionSinus
Pressure
Runny
Nose
Watery
Eyes
CoughSore
Throat
 
Motrin IB®XX X X
 
Advil®XX X X
 
Children's Motrin®XX X X
 
Children's Advil®XX X X
 
COMMENTS: Ibuprofen may worsen asthma and ulcer symptoms. See your doctor before taking it.

DECONGESTANTS

MEDICATIONS:
Pseudoephedrine
 SYMPTOMS
 
FeverAches
Pains
CongestionSinus
Pressure
Runny
Nose
Watery
Eyes
CoughSore
Throat
 
Sudafed® XX 
 
COMMENTS: Oral dosage.
 
 
MEDICATIONS: SYMPTOMS
 
FeverAches
Pains
CongestionSinus
Pressure
Runny
Nose
Watery
Eyes
CoughSore
Throat
 
Naphazoline
Privine®
 XX
 
Oxymetazoline
Afrin®
 XX 
 
Phenylephrine
Neo-Synephrine®
 XX 
 
COMMENTS: Nose Drops / Nasal Sprays: Nasal sprays should never be used for more than three days. The body gets used to the effects of nasal sprays quickly. As a result, they become less effective with repeat use.

ANTIHISTAMINES

MEDICATIONS:  SYMPTOMS
 
FeverAches
Pains
CongestionSinus
Pressure
Runny
Nose
Watery
Eyes
CoughSore
Throat
 
Brompheniramine
Dimetapp®
 XXXX 
 
Chlorpheniramine
Chlor-Trimeton®
 XXXX 
 
Clemastine
Tavist-1®
 XXXX 
 
Diphenhydramine
Benadryl®
 XXXX 
 
Loratadine
Claratin®
 XXX  
 
COMMENTS: Some antihistamines may be effective as cough suppressants. With the exception of Claratin®, the antihistamines listed in this table may cause drowsiness. This side effect may be beneficial in cold and flu sufferers who are irritable and have trouble sleeping.

COUGH SUPPRESSANTS

MEDICATIONS:
Dextromethorphan
 SYMPTOMS
 
FeverAches
Pains
CongestionSinus
Pressure
Runny
Nose
Watery
Eyes
CoughSore
Throat
 
Pertussin DM® X 
 
COMMENTS: Dextromethorphan is the most widely used non-prescription cough suppressant and may be useful in relieving cough.

EXPECTORANTS

MEDICATIONS:
Guaifenesin
 SYMPTOMS
 
FeverAches
Pains
CongestionSinus
Pressure
Runny
Nose
Watery
Eyes
CoughSore
Throat
 
Robitussin® X 
 
COMMENTS: Guaifenesin is an ingredient in many multi-symptom cough and cold medications. There is little evidence of its usefulness.

LOCAL ANESTHETICS

MEDICATIONS: SYMPTOMS
 
FeverAches
Pains
CongestionSinus
Pressure
Runny
Nose
Watery
Eyes
CoughSore
Throat
 
Benzocaine
Cepacol®
 X
 
Dyclonine
Sucrets®
 X
 
Phenol
Cepastat®
 X
 
COMMENTS: These medications are available as throat sprays and lozenges. In either form, these anesthetics provide short-term relief. Lozenges can pose a risk of choking and therefore should not be used by young children.

WebMD Medical Reference from the American Lung Association

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