Believe me, anyone with the cold and flu needs a lot of TLC! And of course, you’re the first person who can help yourself get some relief! Oh, a bowl of mom’s steaming hot chicken soup is also welcome… But first, you have to do what you can to at least make your miserable self feel less achy all over!
Colds and the flu are viral infections and are very common especially during cold weather (read more about common cold treatments and tips). A runny nose, sore throat, nasal stuffiness and persistent cough are the usual symptoms. A bad case can also leave you with a headache and fever. And of course, who can forget the horrible muscle pain that makes you feel sore all over?
Help, please! What can I Take for Cold and Flu?
Because colds and the flu are viral, they usually get better on their own. In the meantime, however, there are medications that can ease the awful symptoms you’re feeling.
The flu usually gives you a fever and a bad case of body pain, so taking a painkiller like acetaminophen will do you a big favor! It also lowers the fever, making you feel less horrible.
Many cold and flu medications contain acetaminophen combined with other active ingredients like chlorphenamine and phenylephrine. These can help ease other symptoms like a stuffy or runny nose and the bad sinus pressure that only adds to the misery. Some even contain an active ingredient like dextromethorphan to ease any cough you may have.
If you’re experiencing most of the cold and flu symptoms, it’s better to take a combination product with these ingredients.
Cold and flu medications come in the usual tablets and capsules. There are some products though, that come in a special dosage form like a liquid capsule. This is both easier to take and has a quicker effect for faster symptom relief. There are some as well that offer extended release. Taking this form allows you to drink medicine less often than the usual.
Children can take liquid formulations that are much easier to swallow. These are also suitable for elderly patients or for those who can’t swallow pills easily. In cases where swallowing is really problematic, you can take a dosage form called a suppository that offers rapid relief.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, there may be fewer products we can recommend. This is because some medications can pose harm to the baby or may pass into the breast milk. You can take acetaminophen though to relieve fever and body pain. It’s also best to consult your physician for medications that are safe for you to take.
What else can I do?
Taking your usual multivitamin is advisable, especially one with Vitamin C and zinc to help boost your immune system. Drinking lots of water can help lessen the stickiness of mucus, while drinking warm fluids can soothe that sore, scratchy throat.
Most of all, it’s important to rest for a couple of days (or more!). This helps your body fight off the infection. Plus, walking around feeling like a zombie (do zombies feel body pain?!) and infecting everyone with the flu isn’t really a good idea. So rest! Stay put in your comfy bed, take your medicines, and let your body kick the virus out of your system!