There are a variety of over-the-counter (OTC) cold medicines available for adults. The best type of cold medicine for you will depend on your specific symptoms.
Common types of cold medicine for adults include:
- Decongestants: Decongestants help to shrink swollen blood vessels in the nose, which can relieve congestion. Common decongestants include pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and phenylephrine (Sudafed PE).
- Antihistamines: Antihistamines block the action of histamine, a chemical that the body releases during an allergic reaction. This can help to relieve symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes. Common antihistamines include diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and loratadine (Claritin).
- Pain relievers and fever reducers: Pain relievers and fever reducers can help to relieve aches and pains, as well as fever. Common pain relievers and fever reducers include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and acetaminophen (Tylenol).
- Cough suppressants: Cough suppressants work by reducing the cough reflex. This can be helpful for a dry, hacking cough. Common cough suppressants include dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM) and codeine.
- Expectorants: Expectorants help to loosen mucus in the lungs, making it easier to cough up. This can be helpful for a productive cough, which is a cough that produces phlegm. Common expectorants include guaifenesin (Mucinex) and ambroxol (Mucinex DM).
When to use cold medicine for adults
Cold medicine can be helpful for managing symptoms of the common cold, but it is important to use it correctly. Here are some general guidelines for using cold medicine for adults:
- Start with over-the-counter medications. Before taking prescription medication, try over-the-counter medications first.
- Read the labels carefully. Make sure to follow the directions on the label for the dosage and frequency of use.
- Do not exceed the recommended dose. Taking too much of any medication can be dangerous.
- Do not take medications that contain the same active ingredients. This can lead to an overdose.
- Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns. Your doctor can help you determine the best course of treatment for your symptoms.
Additional tips for using cold medicine for adults
If you are taking cold medicine, it is important to drink plenty of fluids. This will help to loosen mucus and keep your throat moist. You may also want to use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
If you have a cough, you may want to try sucking on hard candy or lozenges. This can help to soothe a sore throat and suppress a cough.
If your symptoms are severe or do not improve after a few days, see your doctor.