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Cough and Cold Advice

The common cold: It can bring the best of us to bed ridden misery. You don’t need antibiotics, even though many people feel they can help early on. Here I’ll share some great cold remedies that I recommend, some misconceptions about colds, as well as signs that you may need to get checked out by a doctor.


Cold symptoms include runny nose, sinus tenderness, sore throat, cough, ear pain, fever, stuffy nose, headache, and watery eyes. Many misconceptions exist about colds. Some think that once the drainage turns from clear to green or yellow, or gets thicker that antibiotics are needed. However, extensive research has shown that color, quantity, or thickness of drainage has nothing to do with whether you have a bacterial or viral infection. Thick green discharge is still viral and doesn’t need antibiotic therapy.


When you feel a cold coming on, it’s a good idea to start taking vitamin C 500mg tablets. This helps boost your immune system.


The cold aisle at the pharmacy can be very overwhelming. Follow these recommendations to help navigate and spend your money on things that will actually help. I will say that the “brand” is not any better than generic combinations and I do not recommend wasting a few more dollars on brand name items. The following recommendations are for adults only.


For runny nose: If you don’t have high blood pressure, you can start taking pseudoephedrine. Brand name is Sudafed. I like the version that is combined with Zyrtec called “Zyrtec-D”. These are only available behind the counter at the pharmacy. This will completely dry up your nose and help you get through the work day.


If Sudafed makes you dizzy, you can try DayQuil. It contains phenylephrine that will dry up your nose. It also has dextromethorphan and is great to use if you also have a cough. It’s also not recommended if you have high blood pressure.


Remember to run a humidifier at night and also consider nasal saline washes.


For cough: I can send in a prescription for tessalon perles which can help. Also, robitussion is a good option. Don’t take robitussion and DayQuil together, though, as dayquil also contains the dextromethorphan so you don’t need both. Cough is mainly from nasal drainage going down the back of your throat, so if you concentrate on drying up your nasal symptoms your cough will improve.


For body aches and fever: Take Tylenol 1,000mg or Motrin 600mg. Be careful on the dosing of these—it’s not recommended to take more than 3,000mg of Tylenol in 24 hours and some combination cold meds contain Tylenol.


Sore throat: Hot tea with honey is better than most medications. Running a humidifier at night can help a ton with getting out of the bed in the morning. If your humidifier doesn’t seem to put out mist like it should add a teaspoon of salt to the water to get it going. Ricola cough drops can help as well. I’m partial to the cherry honey.


Remember to drink lots of water: at least 60 ounces a day. Being dehydrated will make you feel worse and you are more prone to this while being sick.


If you have fever, body aches and headache, or changes in taste it’s a good idea to take a home Covid test. If positive contact your doctor.


If you develop shortness of breath, dizziness or feeling like you might pass out, have oxygen saturation less than 90%, or high fever that won’t come down, then you need to be seen in person by your doctor. If your symptoms persist for more than 7 days or you get better then suddenly get much worse this is also a sign that you need to see a doctor.


Feel better and stop by the front porch for any questions.

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