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Home Pharmacy (cont.)

The Common Cold

Patient Comments

A cold is an upper respiratory tract infection (URI's) caused by a virus. Since most people with a viral illness (viral upper respiratory infection) generally recover in approximately 7 to 14 days, treatment is focused on symptom control. Symptoms of a cold are:

  • runny nose,
  • stuffiness,
  • possibly a sore throat, and
  • hoarseness.

The symptoms the flu (influenza) are different. Influenza (flu) has more systemic symptoms such as fever, chills, coughs, and muscle/body aches.

OTC medications including herbal remedies may be of benefit in controlling symptoms but cannot cure a cold; instead they can potentially minimize the symptoms that cause people to suffer. Herbs have been used for centuries to help relieve cold symptoms but scientific studies have not yet proven their effectiveness. While herbal remedies may be of benefit to some people, it is important to remember that they are not harmless and may interact with prescription medications. Your pharmacist or health care practitioner can give advice as to the safety of a specific treatment plan. Drugstore and grocery shelves are lined with numerous types of drugs used to treat the symptoms of a cold; listed below are some of the treatments for cold symptoms and precautions about their use.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/19/2014

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about 12 Medicine Cabinet Essentials (Home Pharmacy):

Home Pharmacy - Medications

What are some medications that are in your medicine cabinet?

Common Cold - Medication

What kind of over-the-counter medication have you had the most success with in treating the symptoms of a common cold?



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