Healthy Dose: Cough and Cold

Overwhelmed by all the choices in the cough and cold aisle? Though pharmacies have entire sections devoted to products used to treat the common cold, in reality, there are only about four or five ingredients to choose from. Here’s a couple of tips to guide your way through the cough and cold section:

Watery and itchy eyes? Nose is running like the kitchen sink? You likely need an antihistamine. This ingredient dries up your eyes and nose. But, often makes you sleepy. So if the package says “allergy relief” or “nighttime”, it likely contains an antihistamine.

Is your nose clogged? Does it feel like it is stuffed with cotton? A decongestant will serve you well.

Dry, irritating cough? Look for a cough suppressant – dextromethorophan is your only choice. It’s often abbreviated DM – like Robitussin DM.

The cough and cold aisle are filled with each of these – but just in different combinations. So next time, use these tips and match your symptoms up to the ingredient.

As always, if in doubt, ask your pharmacist the choice that’s best for you. I’m pharmacist Tom Carey for SwedishAmerican’s, A Health Dose.


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