Pharmacies sell a wide range of medications that relieve cold symptoms and flu symptoms. To choose the right product, look for ones that contain a single active ingredient. Single-ingredient medications let you treat each symptom with the right dose of the right product and help you avoid taking unnecessary drugs. Beware of all-in-one medications, which contain a number of active ingredients, many of which you probably don’t need. These combination products aren’t necessarily more effective than single-ingredient ones. The more ingredients there are, the higher the risk of side effects.
Many cold medications are available in liquid form, but these products aren’t suitable for young children. Unless otherwise advised by a doctor, they should not be given to children under the age of 6 as they can have serious side effects. There is also little evidence that they effectively treat colds in kids. However, saline nasal care products (HydraSenseTM, SalinexTM and Sinus RinseTM) are both safe and effective for relieving a stuffy nose.
To get the right product for you or your child, always check with your pharmacist, who can help you choose the best medication for your needs and health and who can inform you of contraindications and possible side effects. Your pharmacist can also advise you about whether you need to see a doctor.
Remember that the best thing when you have a cold or the flu is to rest and drink plenty of fluids.