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Self-Care at Home
Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and similar agents can be used to reduce pain and fever. Avoid the use of aspirin in children and teenagers, because of the risk of a serious liver disorder (Reye's syndrome).
Over-the-counter cold preparations (decongestants, cough syrup) may reduce symptoms in adults, although they will not speed recovery and may cause side effects including drowsiness and dry mouth. The efficacy of these products has recently been challenged by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which recommends against their use in children under 6 years of age. Further, there are no studies showing that over-the-counter medicines work in older children.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/27/2014
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