Today’s OTC cold medicine is more sophisticated and effective than ever before.
While we still cannot cure the common cold these medications can alleviate many of the worst symptoms of a cold and let you feel and sleep better.
Below our health experts have compiled their list of the biggest benefits of today’s cold medications.
13 Benefits Of Cold Medicine
The following are the most important benefits of today’s OTC cold medicines.
1: Cold medicines let you sleep better when you have a cold.
The best way to get over a cold is to stay home, drink plenty of liquids and get lots of sleep. Sleep is crucial to immune system function (1) and allows your body to focus on the task of fighting off the cold. Without help, though, it can be difficult to get the sleep you need when you are sick. A good cold medicine can help you get it.
2: Cold medicines relieve aches and pains.
The aches and pains associated with a cold or flu are the result of your immune system responding to the invading pathogens. These aches and pains typically go hand in hand with an elevated temperature, another sign that your immune system has joined the battle against the viral invaders. Cold medicines can help reduce the fever and inflammation and relieve your aches and pains.
3: Cold medicines help stop runny noses.
A runny nose occurs when your immune system produces excess nasal mucus in an attempt to flush your sinuses of invading pathogens (2). But even though it may be beneficial, it can still be extremely annoying and uncomfortable. Cold medicines with antihistamines neutralize the activity of the histamines causing the runny nose and let you relax and put away the tissues for a while.
4: Cold medicines are safe.
It is estimated that more than 80% of adults in the US use OTC cold medicines at some point (3). That amounts to more than 200 million people. At the same time, there are virtually no cases of any of those adults dying from using these medications as directed. That is an astonishing safety record. When problems do occur, they are typically the result of taking too much or taking them while taking other medications.
5: Cold medicines are an effective way to stop a cold-related cough.
For many people, the worst aspect of having a cold or flu is the persistent coughing. Granted, not all colds or flus produce coughing, but some do. And if you are being kept up at night with a hacking cough, there are cold medicine formulas that can help quite your respiratory tract so you can get to sleep.
6: Cold medicines without antihistamines can be effective for seniors.
It is recommended that seniors avoid cold medicines with antihistamines. That is because they can cause lightheadedness that can lead to a life-altering fall (4). The good news, however, is that there are cold medicines (including some on our list) that do not contain antihistamines. So if you are an older individual, take heart. You can still find a cold medicine to provide relief.
7: Cold medicines are affordable.
A simple 30-minute office visit to see the doctor may cost more than a hundred dollars. By contrast, a package of cold medicine costs a tiny fraction of that. Unless you have a specific reason to see a doctor, you are better off saving your money. There is nothing they can do to cure you of the cold anyway. All they can do is recommend you take one of the cold medicines on the above list.
8: Cold medicines are typically safe for children over 6.
Health professionals now recommend that children under six should not be given OTC cold medicines (5). But they are still considered basically safe for healthy children six years old and up. Still, parents should be mindful of ingredients like alcohol, diphenhydramine, and heavy doses of sugar that are sometimes present in liquid cold medicines.
9: Cold medicines are available that are safe for diabetics.
It is often said that cold medicines and diabetics should avoid each other. That is because some cold medicines contain alcohol, honey, sugar, and other ingredients that can negatively affect blood sugar levels. But there are some cold medicines on the market that are free of these ingredients. Just be sure to read the label carefully.
10: Cold medicines can prevent a bad situation from getting worse.
If you have a cold or a mild form of the flu, cold medicine can help you get the restful sleep you need. That, in turn, can help prevent it from turning into something worse. All colds and flus are caused by viruses. And sometimes, especially if the cold or flu goes untreated, they can initiate an upper respiratory tract infection, or URTI (6).
11: Cold medicines no longer contain addictive substances.
It was not that long ago that codeine was considered the gold standard of cold medicines. It is safe to say that is no longer the case. The FDA and cold medicine manufacturers have eliminated many dangerous compounds from cold medicines, or banned those medicines from being sold over the counter (7). The cold medicines you get today are free of potentially addictive substances.
12: Cold medicines are available in a variety of formulas.
There are cold medicines for seniors, cold medicines for children, and cold medicines that can be safely taken by diabetics. Some focus on bringing down your fever, some address your cough, and some address your runny nose and watery eyes. And then there are those that address most or all of your cold symptoms.
13: Cold medicines do not require a prescription.
There are not a lot of effective medications that are available without a prescription these days, but cold medicines are. If you are an otherwise healthy individual dealing with a cold, and you are not currently taking any other type of medication, you can pick up any of the outstanding cold medicines on the above list at any time.
Besides relieving a person of aches and pains associated with a cold today’s best cold medicine also enables them to get better faster, feel better during the day and get a better night’s sleep. If you have any questions about which cold medicine is right for you talk to your doctor.