There is no cure for common cold and flu since these are viral infections. Most people prefer treating a cold using over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Age-old home remedies are also very prevalent for finding relief from cold and flu symptoms. But when cold strikes, it is important to know what OTC cold & flu tablets are most effective for different symptoms and how to administer the right doses for the same.

Here is a list of commonly-used cold and flu medicines for different symptoms of the infection.

For pain relief: Body ache is a characteristic symptom of cold and flu. There are many options for pain relief. But do not take more than one type of medicine at the same time and also limit the dose to 1-2 a day with intervals of 8 to 12 hours or as per recommendations of your doctor.

  • Common cold and flu medicine come under the category of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Acetaminophen falls under the classification of drugs known as antipyretics (fever reducers) and analgesics (pain relievers) also used to bring down a fever or reduce pain.

For nasal congestion: You can use sprays or pills to clear nasal congestion. But it is not recommended to use them for more than three days and these must not be administered to young children.

  • Commonly used nasal decongestants available at your nearest drug store.
  • Antihistamines are effective for nasal congestion and cold-like symptoms caused by allergies. But these can cause drowsiness so must be used with caution. Also know that antihistamines don’t treat a cold. Antihistamines are drugs to treat allergy symptoms and can provide relief from cold and flu symptoms when combined with other pain relievers and decongestants.
  • For cough, OTC medicines are not very effective to treat a cough caused by cold or flu. You can ask your doctor for a prescription cough syrup or try other OTC formulas.

Taking Precautions with Cold and Flu Medicines.

When you take cold & flu tablets, it is important that you do not pop these pills without understanding your symptoms. Use OTC cold and flu medicines for specific symptoms only. Don’t use different drugs with the same active ingredients as you risk taking more than the recommended dosage. If you are unsure what OTC cold & flu tablets to take, you can ask your doctor for more information. Some home remedies suggest increasing the dose of vitamin C and zinc to heal a cold. But if you want to do so, take them as a part of your diet instead of as pills.

If you suffer from high blood pressure, do not use any cold & flu tablets without consulting your doctor.