Cold Medications That Actually Work

November 26, 2019

Dreamstime

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When you’re feeling awful because of a cold, you just want something to make you feel better, at the very least temporarily. Unfortunately a lot of remedies are placebos, but some things in the drugstore work better than others. Experts chime in and guide you through the medicine aisle for remedies that work. Tylenol and ibuprofen do tend to work to relieve pain and reduce fevers, although they’re probably not what you’re thinking of when you think of cold medicines. (Tylenol, or acetaminophen, is in a lot of cold medicines as part of a mixture of ingredients. If you’re combining medications, make sure you’re not double-dosing on this ingredient.)  When it comes to congestion and a stuffy nose, pseudoephedrine is the real deal. This decongestant constricts (shrinks) dilated blood vessels within the nose, relieving congestion. Unfortunately, it is also a key ingredient in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, so make sure you bring your ID and head to the pharmacist. For sore throats, honey works surprisingly well. Studies often show it works better than over-the-counter cough syrups. However, due to the risk of infant botulism, a rare but serious form of food poisoning, never give honey to a child younger than age 1 unless directed by your pediatrician. As for honey-based cough syrups, don't bother. Instead take actual honey and mix it into some hot water or tea. That’s cheaper and easier. And speaking of kids, pretty much every children’s cold medicine is garbage. The ones with decongestants and antihistamines aren’t considered safe for kids under 4. Homeopathic remedies for both kids and adults are garbage as well. While you may perceive "natural" as a good choice, they're actually taking advantage of a FDA loophole that allows them to be marketed as drugs and not backed by research or science.  Save your money and potentially giving yourself or your family something that may make a cold or flu worse.  When in doubt, check with the pharmacist or your doctor on medications to treat your symptoms.

SOURCE: Vitals

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