Upper Respiratory Symptomatic Relief

This is the season for upper respiratory infections- it’s always the season in Mississippi, right?! Your doctor will determine if you need an antibiotic or steroid treatment. In the meantime, you can try the following over-the-counter options for symptomatic relief.

-Tylenol or ibuprofen- for pain, headaches, body aches, ear pain, sore throat
-Guaifenesin (Mucinex)- is an expectorant so it will help bring up any chest mucus so you can expel it; Mucinex DM also contains dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant. Be sure to drink plenty of extra water with Mucinex because it uses the water to thin out the mucus so you can cough it up!
-Antihistamines such as Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra (typically non-drowsy), and Benadryl (typically drowsy)- can help with allergic-type symptoms such as itching, sneezing, runny nose and eyes
-Nasal saline spray to clean congestion out of nose, followed by Flonase (nasal steroids) will help dry up congestion in your nose and sinuses, and fluid in your ears
-“Cold and flu” products like Dayquil and Alka Seltzer often contain a combination of an antihistamine, a cough suppressant, Tylenol, and/or a nasal decongestant. Be very careful to watch the Tylenol (acetaminophen) content in combination products so that your total daily dose of Tylenol doesn’t exceed 3000mg per day (or 2000mg per day in people with liver disease)
-Vicks Vapor Rub or humidifier products may help with congestion
-Sambucol is a great cold/flu medicine that also comes in daily gummies for immune boosting
-Salt water and/or turmeric in warm water and gargled- can help with sore throat (note: turmeric can stain toothbrushes after)
-Some patient rave about homeopathic remedies (such as Zicam and Coldcalm), or vitamin preparations (such as Emergen-C or zinc). Hot tea with honey can help a sore throat.
-Eating healthily, hydrating, and resting will go a long way while you’re under the weather.

Special Case:
-If you have high BP- some “cold” meds can raise your BP, so be sure to get the varieties that don’t as much; Coricidin is a popular brand

By Chloe Kilman, MD