This page is on Cold Remedies.
Getting sick during cold and flu season is never fun.
Flu shots have slowed down the spread of flu outbreaks, but colds still run rampant every year.
We're going to look at different ways to treat cold symptoms and the various benefits and drawbacks of each method.
The basics of dealing with any cold are the same.
For specific symptoms, different treatments will work depending on what the patient is dealing with.
The first symptom we'll look at is the cough.
Coughing goes hand in hand with having a cold, and is often the first sign that someone is getting sick.
The good news is that there are lots of options for ways to help control that cough, and most of them also help out with the other symptoms as well.
Cold Eeze Zinc Lozenges
Cold Eeze is a zinc lozenge that is made to help with cold symptoms. It's different than a cough drop.
Cold Eeze is formulated to do two things:
The idea is that by controlling the virus, it will make their cold less severe and they will be sick for much less time.
And then it also treats symptoms like coughing, runny nose and sore throat.
The main difference between Cold Eeze and a cough drop is Cold Eeze should be thought of like a medication.
The dosage instructions should be followed and lozenges should be used regularly for maximum effect at minimizing the effects of your cold.
Cold Eeze may look like a cough drop, but the zinc-based, over-the-counter remedy is going to leave a lasting coating in a patients mouth that keeps working to relieve their cough and fight the cold virus.
Cough drops are only intended to treat cold symptoms (usually cough, congestion, sore throat), they don't try to attack the cold virus itself at all.
There are many different varieties and flavors of cough drops, and for the most part they all work similarly.
The big difference in cough drops is between menthol cough drops and non-menthol cough drops.
Menthol Cough Drops
Menthol is derived from mint oil (or made synthetically) and is what makes a person’s mouth feel tingly and a little bit numb when they eat a breath mint or chew mint gum.
Menthol cough drops use that same numbing effect to help relieve the pain from a sore throat and reduce coughing when someone is sick.
Menthol cough drops also frequently help relieve congestion better than those without menthol.
Non-Menthol Cough Drops
Non-menthol cough drops are just cough drops made without menthol. They still treat coughing, congestion and sore throat and should be used by anyone with an allergy to menthol.
Diabetics should look for sugar-free cough drops, as some normal brands can contain quite a bit of sugar.
All cough drops are used by putting them in your mouth and sucking on them, similar to a breath mint.
The relief doesn't usually last very long after the cough drop has dissolved, so a patient should be prepared to go through ten or more cough drops for every day they are sick.
Throat lozenges are similar to cough drops, but they usually are only meant to treat a sore throat.
Lots of people refer to cough drops and throat lozenges interchangeably, but the technical difference is exactly what the names imply.
Cough drops have evolved to help treat other symptoms, but if someone only has a sore throat they should buy lozenges for it.
Treating Sinus Congestion
The next symptom to deal with is congestion.
Sinus congestion is when a patients nose is stuffed up and they can't breathe easily.
Nasal saline sprays can be used to help relieve this sinus congestion and allow them to breathe.
The effects of nasal saline drops and sprays won't last long, as they keep producing mucous which will continue to plug their nostrils.
However, nasal saline sprays don't contain any medication so they can be used as often as necessary.
They're also good for children who are too young for cold medications.
And being inexpensive, nasal saline drops and sprays are a good choice to help relieve congestion, even if it's only for a little while.
The other way to treat congestion is through non-prescription decongestants.
Pseudoephedrine-based decongestants work by constricting blood vessels and reducing the production of mucous.
This has the effect of drying out your sinuses and making it easier for the patient to breathe.
It is also a stimulant and will have the effect of making the patient more awake.
Phenylephrine-based decongestants work in a similar fashion and with similar results.
Depending on local drug laws, one or both types should be readily available at the pharmacy you work at.
However, Phenylephedrine does not have the stimulant properties of pseudoephedrine.
When someone is stuffed up and can't breathe, they should take decongestant medication and while they are waiting for it to start working, they should use a saline nasal spray to help clear out their sinuses.
This will give them the benefit of immediate relief as well as long-lasting relief when the decongestant starts working.
With proper treatment and care, most cold symptoms are easy to manage.
It's worth repeating, cold sufferers should:
In addition, they need to determine their specific symptoms and use the appropriate cold medication to ensure that their cold doesn't keep them trapped in their bed and unable to function.
If cold sufferers follow these steps carefully, they should be feeling better in no time.
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