How Does Cold Medication Work?
What Cold Remedies Do
- Cold remedies do not actually cure colds. There currently is no known cure for the cold. What cold remedies do, is relieve symptoms associated with colds. Relieving symptoms can help a person feel better while the body naturally fights off the cold virus. The two common types of cold remedies are over the counter non-prescription medications and natural cold remedies.
- Over the counter cold remedies contain antihistamines, decongestants and pain relievers.
Antihistamines help to relieve sneezing, itchy eyes and an itchy throat. Common antihistamines are chlorpheniramine, diphenhydramine, brompheniramine and clemastine.
Decongestants help to reduce mucous. Common decongestants are psuedoephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, phenylephrine, oxmetazoline and xylometazoline.
Pain relievers help to relieve aches and pains. Common pain relievers are Ibuprophin, Acemetophin and Asprin.
Natural Cold Remedies
- Echinacea, Vitamin C and Zinc are three natural cold remedies that are commonly used to prevent colds and to enhance the bodies immune system to fight colds. It is not clear if any of these natural treatments actually work. In any event, they do not appear to be harmful if taken within recommended dosage guidelines. Scientific studies conducted on natural cold remedies have had mixed results. Some studies showed that the remedies did not work at all, other studies showed that the remedies produced minor to significant results. Although scientific studies are inconclusive, some people do report that they have experienced beneficial results using natural cold remedies.
- Cold remedies should not be taken with other medications without permission from a doctor. Cold medications can cause harmful reactions with some medications.
Children should not take Aspirin. Aspirin can cause Reyes syndrome when taken by children who have a fever.
Parents often use over the counter cough medicines to treat their child's cold when their child is experiencing coughing. The FDA recommends against giving children under the age of two years old over the counter cough medicine. The American College of Chest Physicians recommends against giving children under the age of fourteen years old over the counter cough medicine.
Pregnant women should not take cold remedies without the advice of a physician. Some cold remedies can cause harm to the fetus.