How to Pick the Right Cold Meds
You're standing in the cold-and-flu aisle of the drugstore with a sniffly nose and hacking cough, staring at a dizzying array of products. How to choose? Pay attention to these four things on the back of the package:
WATCH ACETAMINOPHEN AMOUNTS
"This pain reliever has a toxic effect on the liver, so limit your intake to 1,200 mg per day," advises Laura Knobel, MD, board member of the American Academy of Family Physicians. That means skipping formulas that will exceed that total amount daily.
When you first get sick, skip meds that contain this cough suppressant. "A cough is beneficial early on because it gets rid of mucus," says Dr. Knobel. Save these meds for the end of a cold, when they'll help relieve that pesky dry cough.
FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS
Phrases like "don't crush up" and "take with a full glass of water" are there for a reason. Case in point: If a pill accidentally got stuck in your throat or esophagus, the active ingredients in some medications could cause irritation or ulcers.
TURN DOWN THE HEAT
High temperatures can cause certain ingredients to break down and lose their effectiveness. Be sure to keep your medicine in a cool, dark place away from any heat source or moisture.
Video: Navigating Cough And Cold Medicines (HD)
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