Monday, February 28th, 2011

What’s There in Your Anti-cold Medicine

anti coldLeave a cold and it will get well in seven days. Treat it and it’s going to take a week to get cured. Still, most of us do rely on over-the-counter cold medicines to get fast relief from cold and cold like symptoms.  Since, cold takes a week to get well on its own, over the counter medicines aim at providing symptomatic relief. These symptoms are: body ache, headache, running nose, sore throat and nasal congestion. Let’s find what’s there in your cold medicine?


All of us have experienced body aches with cold. Hence, all cold relievers—over the counter or prescription will have a pain relieving ingredient in it, mostly in the form of paracetamol which is one of the safest pain relievers. Paracetamol lowers body fever too.

Caution: Since cold relieving medicines have paracetamol, avoid taking one separately, lest you should risk an overdose. Don’t have alcoholic drinks while taking cold relieving medicines.


Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) is a drug ingredient of the phenethylamine family used as a decongestant in prescription and nonprescription cough and cold, and sinus remedies, and some combination allergy medications. Decongestants work by constricting the blood vessels in the nose, throat, and sinus membranes which reduce inflammation and mucous formation.


• Oral decongestants elevate blood pressure and may not be appropriate for people with high blood pressure or certain cardiovascular conditions.
• Men with an enlarged prostate who have difficulty urinating may notice a worsening of this symptom when they take decongestants.
• In addition, oral decongestants can cause nervousness and difficulty sleeping.


Caffeine with paracetamol is used together to relieve pain, cold and fevers. It’s common sense that you avoid other sources of caffeine, like tea, coffee and sodas while taking this medication.

To begin with common cold is caught by viruses that we contract from infected people or can be manifestation of an allergy. Now, you know that scrupulous hand washing can keep the virus at bay. To treat a cold, modern day doctors rely on nasal irrigation done with warm saline water to flush out the microorganisms and mucous inside your nasal tract. You can use neti pot or a big syringe without the needle for this. Steam inhalation with eucalyptus oil is the best bet for opening up the clogged sinuses. Nasal decongestant sprays are worth a try too, but on the advice of your doctor, and shouldn’t be continued for more than 3 days.

Tell your doctor

If you are pregnant or breast feeding seek your doctor’s approval before you take an over-the-counter cold relieving medicine.


Under no circumstance administer these medicines to children.

If you are prone to cold, you can have a vitamin C pill every day a month before the change of season to enhance your immunity. Try Guardian Amla Juice to get Vitamin C naturally. Researches say zinc lozenges can help cut short the duration of cold. Worth a try!

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