– Each year many people develop the flu with millions more contracting colds that leave them unable to work, go to school or enjoy their daily lives. These illnesses are caused by viruses that cannot be treated with antibiotics. As a result, those who fall ill must endure their symptoms until they recover. Cough, cold and flu medicines can alleviate some of this discomfort, however, by addressing specific symptoms related to viruses.
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Often times with cold and flu, mucus and fluid develop in the chest, leading to congestion that makes it difficult to breathe. The body may try to expel this congestion through coughing. Some people also develop coughs as symptoms begin to clear up and irritation develops in the throat. This is sometimes known as a dry cough. For symptoms of chest congestion, chest rubs often temporarily reduce discomfort. These products contain menthol or a similar ingredient that once applied produce vapors that loosen chest congestion.
When congestion settles in the head, it can create numerous unpleasant symptoms, including a stuffy or runny nose. Some cold and flu medicines are formulated with ingredients that temporarily lessen sneezing and can clear the airways to make breathing easier for limited periods of time. As head congestion drips down the throat, it can lead to soreness, and there are numerous over-the-counter formulas, including cough drops and sprays, designed to lessen this discomfort.
If congestion in the nasal passages becomes very severe, it can be difficult for cold and flu sufferers to breathe comfortably through their noses. Nasal care products are designed to address this common symptom. Most often, these products come in the form of sprays, which are dispensed directly into the nostril to temporarily clear mucus from the openings in the nose.
Cold medicines are multi-purpose formulas designed to alleviate multiple symptoms of colds at once. These include products dosed for adults and those formulated for children. Taking one of these formulas can reduce the number of over-the-counter medicines that a person needs to take in order to receive relief from cold symptoms. In addition to head and chest congestion, the flu often brings other symptoms, including body aches and headaches. As a result, there are special multi-symptom flu care products available on the market.
Many cough, cold and flu over-the-counter formulas are traditional medicines, but there are also natural remedies available. These formulas are made from natural nutrients and herbs. Some of these formulas are complete, multi-purpose cold and flu supplements, while others are formulated to address one specific symptom.
Before taking any cough, cold or flu medicine, it's important that you carefully read the information provided about the drug or natural remedy. Check the warnings and be sure you don't have any of the conditions listed as potentially dangerous. If you're unsure whether or not it's safe for you to take a cough, cold or flu product, consult your doctor. Once you're sure that a medicine is right for you, shop the collection here at drugstore.com and find the ideal formula for your specific set of symptoms.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.