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Patient Education: Cough or Cold, What to Take

NOTE: The information provided on these websites is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or emergency treatment. You should not use any information on these websites to diagnose or develop a treatment plan for a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified health care provider.


Non-medication treatment for your cough or cold

  • Get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Try to breathe moist air. Use a humidifier or take a steamy shower.
  • Consume warm fluids (soup or tea) to provide relief for a stuffy nose and to loosen phlegm.
  • For nasal stuffiness, try saline nasal spray or a Neti Pot.
  • For sore throat pain relief: suck on throat lozenges, hard candy or popsicles; gargle with warm salt water (1/4 tsp. salt per 8 oz. of water); and eat soft, bland foods.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. If you cannot, ensure you are getting enough nutrients by taking a daily multivitamin.
  • Avoid dairy products, as they can thicken phlegm.
  • Avoid alcohol, as it impairs your body’s immune system.


CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:

  • High fever
  • Ear pain
  • Sinus-type headache
  • Unusually severe cold symptoms
  • Cough that gets worse while other cold symptoms improve
  • Flare up of any chronic lung problem, such as asthma

 

RECOMMENDED NON-PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS BY SYMPTOM

Contact the SHCC Pharmacy with any questions or concerns about medications: (352) 392-1760.

Cough, Non-productive (not coughing up phlegm)

  • Cough suppressant containing dextromethorphan (Robitussin® DM or Delsym®)

Cough, Productive (coughing up phlegm)

  • Cough suppressant (see above)
  • Expectorant: Mucinex® tablets or plain guaifenesin syrup, also known as Robitussin®

Fever/Headache/Muscle Aches

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol®)
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil®) or naproxen (Aleve®)

Nasal Stuffiness

  • Nasal steroid sprays: Flonase® or Nasacort®
  • Decongestants:
    • Topical spray: Oxymetazoline (Afrin® Nasal Spray); limit to 3-4 days maximum
    • Oral medication: Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed®) – MUST BE PURCHASED FROM PHARMACIST

Runny and/or Itchy Nose/Sneezing

  • Nasal steroid sprays: Flonase® or Nasacort®
  • Antihistamine: Benadryl®, which will likely cause drowsiness, or Loratadine (Alavert®), which is not as likely to cause drowsiness

Sore Throat Pain Relief

  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®).
  • Try throat sprays (Chloraseptic®).