Multi-symptom cold and flu medication
Cough syrups and cold-and-flu medications can be downright confusing. Many even use the same ingredients just in different packaging, causing someone to mistakenly buy two different brands of medication thinking they’re different when in reality they’re the same. “These OTC treatments that promise to relieve sneezing, sore throat, headache, minor aches and pains, fever, runny nose, and more can lead to overdosage faster than you think,” says Michelle Yagoda, MD, facial plastic surgeon, ENT and voice care professional. “This could raise blood pressure, exacerbate asthma, and cause urinary retention.” To be safe, read the active ingredients list to compare products, take each medication separately and at the correct dose for your symptoms and avoid medications (and side effects) that you don’t want or need. Be sure to measure out each dose carefully (including liquids) and do not take more often than recommended in the instructions, suggests Dr. Yagoda. You can also try these 10 natural remedies for cold and flu that really work.
Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) can work wonders when it comes to eliminating headaches or muscle pain, but they’re not meant to be used on the regular. “While these medications are great for reducing pain and inflammation, they can also cause problems like gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney failure if used too frequently,” says Kristine Arthur, MD, internist at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. “It’s important to talk to your doctor before taking them to be sure your kidney function is up to par, and if you’re taking them long-term, you may need to add a medication to protect your stomach lining from developing an ulcer.” It’s also best to avoid using these medications right before bedtime, as they’re meant to be taken with a meal ideally no later than dinnertime. Make sure you know these other 17 medication mistakes that could make you sick.