Cold and Flu Medicine Comparison
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Cold and Flu Medicine Buying Guide
Different types of Cold and Flu Medicines
There are many different types of medicines that you can take when you or a family member has a cold or the flu. Below we have listed all the different types of medicines that are most often taken when someone is sick. We’ve also given a little bit of information about each type of medicine and what they offer in the way of relief from cold and flu symptoms.
Cold and Flu Meds for Adults – Most of the cold and flu choices on the market use the same active ingredients to combat similar types of symptoms. They will usually have a pain reliever/fever reducer, antihistamine, cough suppressant and nasal decongestant. Some may also contain an expectorant for chest congestion which is a common problem when people get the flu or colds.
The ingredients in a cold and flu medicine are designed to help with fevers and aches, headaches, runny and/or stuffy noses and coughing. Cold and flu medicines are created to provide fast relief for these symptoms so you can feel better while you are getting over your illness.
Most people still have to work even if they are sick, so lessening these symptoms is a big priority. You can find cold and flu medicines in tablet, capsule, and liquid form. There are also nasal sprays that can be tremendously helpful for the person that is suffering with nasal and/or sinus congestion. You will also be able to choose from day and night time formulas that offer non drowsy day medicine and stronger nighttime medicine that allows you to get a good rest despite being sick.
A couple of things you will want to keep in mind when it comes to cold and flu medicines for adults is that the different ingredients can come with side effects such as wakefulness (caused by some decongestants) marked drowsiness (antihistamines and alcohol based meds) and if the medicine contains Phenylephrine, it can raise the blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure be careful about taking medicine with this ingredient in it.
Cold and Flu Medicine for Children – Children’s medicines are very similar to adult medicines for cold and flu and may even contain the same ingredients but there is always a lower dosage amount and less of the active ingredients in the children’s formulas.
Most of the children’s medicines for colds and flu are flavored so getting them into the child is much easier. Children’s medicine also comes in liquid form and some may offer chewable tablets. Most young children can’t swallow pills so it is better not to get a medicine where they will have to swallow it or battles and frustration could ensue.
A few things to consider concerning children’s cold and flu medicine is to watch the dosage. Overdosing is a common cause of emergency visits in children so it is very important that the parent read all labels carefully, give the right dosage and mark down when the child had the medicine so it is not given again too soon.
If the child is under two or if the package states not to give to children under a certain age call the pediatrician to get the okay or recommendation for something else. Never give medicine to a baby without the explicit advice and okay of the child’s pediatrician.
Dealing with Sore Throats – Having a bad sore throat can be a big problem when you have a cold or the flu. Taking your cold and flu medicine may or may not help to get rid of the sore throat. For this reason, you will want to have additional means of soothing your irritated and raw throat such as throat sprays and lozenges.
These contain numbing ingredients that help get rid of the pain in the throat. Most sprays and lozenges don’t really count as medicine per se, and can be taken in addition to the regular cold and flu medicine. Be certain to read the package where you will find how often you can use the throat soothing products.
Having a sore throat is really painful and can make it hard to swallow, eat and even drink if it is bad enough. Some cough lozenges may contain vitamin C which is a product often taken to boost the immune system. Zinc is another ingredient known for boosting the immune system.
There are different kinds of flavors available in cough drops including berry, cherry, honey lemon and menthol. They are also available in sugar-free varieties that are perfect for anyone that has diabetes who gets sick.
Fever and Pain Reducers – Most cold and flu medications contain a fever/pain reducer of some kind. The purpose of a fever reducer is to prevent the body from overheating which can cause a lot of additional health problems if the fever is left untreated and it stays too high for too long. A lot of fever reducers and pain relievers are what is known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. This is also referred to as an NSAID. Common NSAIDS are listed below with some additional information about each of them:
- Acetaminophen – This type of fever reducer and pain reliever is approved for all ages and is a common ingredient found in cold and flu medicines. It is typically easy on the stomach and won’t cause upset. Long term use and use with alcohol consumption can cause potential liver issues.
- Ibuprofen – This is one of the more popular fever reducers and works very fast to bring down a fever and get rid of pain. This is also an ingredient that is easy on the stomach.
- Naproxen – This ingredient tends to be harder on the stomach but some report having longer pain relief when taking it. It also offers the smallest cardiac risks overall when compared to the other NSAIDS.
- Aspirin – Not recommended for children to take at all, but it can be taken by adults for fever and pains. It can offer sustained relief from achiness, headache, sore throat, discomforts associated with the flu and fever as well. Effervescent aspirin variety has been reported to get rid of any achiness or pain faster than a tablet does.
Having the flu or a cold can be a real miserable experience regardless of whether you are an adult or a child. Having the right cold and flu medicine on hand if you come down with either of these ailments will help you get to feeling better while you get over it.
Even though a cold and flu medicine does not cure the illness what it does do is reduce the severity of the symptoms so you can continue with your day to day life. This is especially helpful if you have to go to work or school while you are sick.
With so many different kinds of cold and flu medicines on the market it may be really confusing to figure out which ones are the best to get. The information in this guide is designed to help you understand the ingredients that you are taking and what they do for you in terms of reducing the symptoms of colds and the flu.
After reading this guide and looking at the reviews of the top rated cold and flu medicines we have above, you will be ready to make an informed choice as to the best medicine for you and your family’s needs.