Get relief from your cold symptoms
Cold symptoms are the worst, aren’t they? Your throat is scratchy, your nose is raw and your head feels like a lead balloon.
So, what can you take to help you deal with your cold? Today, experts agree that focusing on individual symptoms offers the safest and best relief for adults.
“It’s not a good idea to take multi-symptom products; it’s too complicated to know what is helping and what is causing adverse effects,” says Dr. Jim Wright, a professor in the anesthesiology, pharmacology and therapeutics department at the University of British Columbia.
Narrow down your list of cold symptoms to the one or two that bother you most, and treat only those, says Jeff Taylor, an associate professor of pharmacy at the University of Saskatchewan.
Then ask your pharmacist for a product that has what you need (a decongestant and a painkiller, for example). You can pass on medications with what you can do without (like a cough suppressant or antihistamine).
Newer, “non-drowsy” antihistamines don’t seem to be proven for drying up a cold-related runny nose, explains Taylor.
Be aware that a 15-study review found no good evidence of the effectiveness of over-the-counter (OTC) cough preparations. And cough suppressants could encourage an infection if they stop phlegm from being coughed up, says Shelley Woloshyn, a pharmacist and owner of Broadway Pharmacy in Saskatoon. New warnings about the use of cold and cough products for children have surfaced, too. Honey may be an effective treatment for cough, according to researchers at Pennsylvania State University.
The good news is, you can find OTC relief for those other nagging symptoms. Read on to find out what our experts recommend for the symptoms you are experiencing.