Typically, cold and flu are not serious health issues. However, they can often prove to be frustrating as they bring down the body’s energy levels with a range of bothersome symptoms. This can negatively influence your health and even make routine tasks cumbersome. Such conditions can be treated with home remedies, but they might take a considerable amount of time to work. Therefore, to gain quick relief you can use cold and flu medicines. To understand your treatment options better, read further to get a gist of its signs.
Identifying cold and flu symptoms
You can develop cold and flu separately, or together. However, both of these conditions have different indicators. For instance, cold is characterized by signs such as a sore throat, sneezing, runny nose, chest congestion, cough, mild fever, etc. Moreover, flu symptoms can be comparatively more severe like fever, muscle pain, headaches, sore throat, etc. In few cases, patients can also suffer from additional issues like nausea and upset stomach. Although, the occurrence of these signs will differ from person to person. If any of the symptoms persist for more than three to four days, then you should immediately seek medical help.
Types of medications for cold and flu
Depending on the signs, you can seek the assistance of OTC (over-the-counter) medications or prescribed medications. There is a range of cold and flu medicines that can help alleviate various symptoms. The following are some of the common kinds of cold and medicines that you can consider using.
- Decongestants – If you are tackling a stuffy nose, then a decongestant might help. This drug shrinks the inflamed tissues and blood vessels in the nose that assist in getting rid of any nasal blockage. You can find this cold and flu medicine in the form of pills, syrups, nasal sprays, and nose drops. These are readily available in pharmacies. Remember if you have any existing health conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, thyroid, glaucoma, etc. then seek the advice of your doctor before using decongestants.
- Anti-histamines – When you are suffering from signs such as a runny nose, watery eyes, and persistent sneezing, your body produces an excessive amount of histamines which leads to stuffiness in the nose. To gain relief from this condition, you can get anti-histamines. However, they might have side-effects such as dry mouth, sleepiness, nausea, dry eyes, blurred eyesight, etc. Based on the severity of your condition, you can either opt for OTC or prescribed variants.
- Antipyretics and pain relievers – If you are experiencing flu symptoms like fever accompanied with headaches, sore throat, and muscle pain, then you can take antipyretics and painkillers comprising acetaminophen or ibuprofen. These can help ease the discomfort and bring down fever. Ensure that you carefully scrutinize the dosage instructions. If you are already on some other medications, then ask your general practitioner to evade any possible risks.
- Cough medicines – To curb coughing you can use three types of cold and flu medicines, i.e., expectorants, suppressants, and topicals. Expectorants can be of great assistance if you are suffering from throat and chest congestion. It helps loosen the mucus which makes the elimination process easier. Likewise, cough suppressants help you achieve relief by hindering the cough reflex. Moreover, topicals come in the forms of ointments that are applied directly to the chest and throat to open up the clogged-up nose.
- Combination medicines – When you are putting up with several symptoms at once then different cold and flu medicines can be mixed together. In most cases, cough suppressants and expectorants are combined. This blend could also include painkillers. However, if you don’t have all the corresponding symptoms, then it is better to avoid combination drugs as your dosage increases unnecessarily.
If you seem to have any doubts, then make sure that you only consume any cold and flu medicines after consulting your doctor. This will help you avoid any types of dangerous side effects, especially if you are already dealing with some allergies.
Apart from cold and flu medicines, you should also take some personal initiatives to improve your condition.
- Drink plenty of water and warm fluids to eliminate mucus and to keep your body hydrated. You can have herbal teas, chicken soups, fresh lemon-ginger juice, etc.
- To get rid of nasal congestion, you can take a steam comprising of hot water infused with herbs for 20 minutes.
- Have warm baths to feel fresh and to reduce body stiffness.
- Increase the intake of Vitamin C as it is rich in antioxidants and can help you recover swiftly. Lemons, oranges, grapefruits, leafy green vegetables, etc. are some of the excellent sources of Vitamin C.
- Hot compresses can also come handy for gaining momentary relief from nasal congestion.
- Gargling with warm salt water help you settle the discomfort in the throat. You should do this for two to three times a day.