Each year, 1 billion people face runny noses, nasal congestion, sneezing, sore throat, cough and other nuisances brought on by the common cold. In fact, colds are the most common reason we call in sick for work, and why our children are absent from school. While over-the-counter cold medicines can ease symptoms, there is some important information to consider before you’re forced to wander the drug store aisles.
They don’t fight the virus or help you recover faster.
In the short run, decongestants and pain relievers can ease cold symptoms and make day-to-day tasks a little easier. However, cold medications cannot treat or cure a cold. Kristina Duda (and mothers everywhere) assert that a virus must run its course. Therefore, anticipate a cold lasting anywhere from one to two weeks, and seek out methods to help you cope while you wait it out.
Young children under the age of 4 should not take them without consulting a doctor.
Experts now claim that giving cold medication to children under the age of 4 can pose some real risks to their health. WebMD reported that 7,000 children visit emergency rooms each year because of complications from cold medications. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention advocates for parents to read labels carefully, and to simply throw out any medications that are not for children under 4 years of age. In addition, do not leave any medications unattended, and never tell children that the medication is candy.
Read labels to ensure you’re not taking two medications with the same active ingredient.
Common brand names also contain common active ingredients. To prevent an accidental overdose, always read the label on the back of your cold medicines. In addition, if you are taking other medications, find out whether there are any known interactions.
Certain people should not take cold medications.
The phrase “over-the-counter” doesn’t necessarily mean there is no risk involved with those products. Those with asthma, high blood pressure and/or heart problems should always use caution before picking up any over-the-counter medication. The American Lung Association recommends that people with asthma should not take cold medication without first consulting a physician, as some common brands can worsen asthma symptoms. Furthermore, some decongestants can increase heart rates and blood pressure.