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Cough and cold medicine

More often than not, a common virus is the reason behind your cough and cold. Although there is no cure for the illness, medicine for cough and cold symptoms can help you manage the sick days better. A few examples of medicines that can be helpful during Cold & Cough are enlisted here:

  1. For allergy-like symptoms—runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing

For allergy-like symptoms—runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing—antihistamines can be helpful. Drugs like chlorpheniramine, loratadine, and diphenhydramine can reduce the allergy-like symptoms during cough and cold. Some of these medicines can have a drowsy effect on people; thus, you should avoid high-risk activities such as driving after administering any of these drugs. Antihistamines are usually available as tablets for Cold & Cough treatment.

  1. For stuffy nose or congested sinus

For stuffy nose or congested sinus, decongestants can be helpful. Pseudoephedrine is one of the most common drugs used for curbing the swelling in your nasal cavity and/or sinuses. One should not take pseudoephedrine, which is available as a cough and cold syrup, for more than 3 days as it may have a rebound effect, leaving you more congested than you were before.

  1. For loosening mucus

For loosening mucus and making it easier to cough it up, expectorants are used. Guaifenesin syrups (such as Robitussin® and Mucofen®) help release the thick mucus so that you can blow or cough it out of your system. Inhaling steam is also an effective remedy for Cold & Cough symptoms.

  1. For controlling urges to cough 

For controlling urges to cough (excessively), suppressants/antitussives can be helpful. Dextromethorphan, pholcodine, and codeine are common cold cough medicines, which are used to suppress coughs. These are also available as cough syrups for infants; for example, Benylin’s infant cough syrup. However, it is not recommended for babies who are younger than 3 months.

  1. For relieving pain and fever

For relieving pain and fever symptoms, analgesics are administered to the patient. Medicines such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen are used to relieve the symptoms of body aches and fever. However, fever is the body’s natural process of killing the virus that causes infection; thus, you are recommended to bear with it for as long as you can to get better quickly.

Precautions for taking medications for cough and cold treatment

  1. Most cough and cold medicines for adults comprise various drugs; thus, you should always read the instruction manual or consult your doctor if you are confused.
  2. Infants and young children have a different physiology, and their bodies react to medicines differently from adults. You should never give over-the-counter (OTC) medicine to children under the age of 4 years.
  3. Antibiotics are one of the most common OTC drugs that people reach for whenever they get sick, but they do not work for cough and cold treatment since the condition are usually caused by s viral infection.
  4. You should avoid doing any activity that is high risk, such as driving, because some medicines (for example, Benadryl) have a drowsy effect on people.
  5. If you are taking additional medicines for pre-existing diseases, make sure you check the ingredients or talk to your doctor to avoid side-effects from taking the medicine with higher than recommended levels of any one component (for example, pain relievers).

Please note that you should always consult a doctor as prescribed medicine may have better effect on you than self-medication. Moreover, you should not continue taking OTC drugs for your symptoms if they do not provide relief in a day or two; visit your general physician in such a case.  

FAQs

Are there any medicines for cough and cold?

Yes. There are different types of medicines available to treat the symptoms of Cold & Cough, including:
Nasal decongestants for stuffy nose
Antihistamines for runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing
Expectorants for loosening mucus
Suppressants for coughs
Pain relievers for fever and aches

Do we require a doctor’s prescription for cold cough tablet?

No, most tablets for Cold & Cough are over-the-counter medicines. Since Cold & Cough is a common illness (most adults get it 2 to 3 times a year and most children can get it 4 to 5 times a year), people can go to their nearby pharmacy to get medicines for treating symptoms.

How much does the medicine for cold cough cost?

Here’s a list of common medicines in each category with its price:
Nasal decongestant: Sudafed (60 mg) costs about INR 5
Antihistamines: Zyrtec (10 mg) (Cetirizine) costs about INR 35
Expectorants: Dristan expectorant (Codeine) costs about INR 20
Suppressants: Codzi syrup costs about INR 55
Pain relievers: Paracetamol (500 mg) (Cipla) costs about INR 10
The prices may differ from brand to brand for a drug containing the same active ingredients.

For how long should I take cold cough tablet?

Generally, symptoms subside in 3–5 days of taking the medicine continuously, but some medicines such as decongestants shouldn’t be continued for more than 3 days to avoid side effects. If you are feeling confused about any medicine, you should talk to your doctor first.

Who should take the cold cough tablet?

People who are having severe symptoms of cough and cold can take medicines to reduce their symptoms. Although taking medicines might make it easier for them to continue with their day-to-day responsibilities, people are recommended to take ample rest and avoid going out.

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