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Medicine for colds

Written by Healthwords's team of doctors and pharmacists based in UK | Updated: 26.01.2023 | 2 min read

A common cold is an infection of your nose and throat, caused by viruses. Symptoms of a common cold can include a blocked nose, sore throat, headaches, muscle aches (not always), cough (dry or chesty), sneezing, temperature (not always), loss of taste or smell.

How to treat it at home?

It is important to get plenty of rest and make sure you keep hydrated to avoid dehydration.  Hot drinks can help relieve congestion and gargling with warm salt water can help soothe sore throats. You can also try steam inhalation with olbas oil for further congestion relief.

Medicine to try for fevers, muscle aches and congestion

Your pharmacist will advise paracetamol or ibuprofen regularly to reduce your temperature and any body pain you may be experiencing. 

If you are congested, your pharmacist can recommend decongestant tablets or sprays such as Sudafed tablets or Otrivine nasal spray.

Medicine to try for coughs and sore throats

If you have a cough, the pharmacist can recommend either a dry or chesty cough syrup depending on the type of cough, for example you could use benylin chesty or dry cough, covonia dry or chest cough. However, if you are a diabetic then we would recommend that you buy robitussin dry or chesty cough as this is the only sugar-free cough syrup on the market. It is important to note that cough syrups don't work for everyone.  

For a sore throat, the pharmacist can recommend you can take lozenges (such as Strepsils) or use throat sprays such as Difflam spray, which has a numbing agent in it.

All-in-one products

There are all-in-one products that help combat lots of symptoms at once- such as ‘Day and Night nurse’ liquid or capsules, ‘Lemsip all in one’ or ‘Beechams all in one’. This is more convenient for people as it saves time taking multiple products at once.    It is advised to check with your pharmacist which products are safe to combine. This is because a lot of products contain paracetamol so in order to avoid overdosing it is important that you don't take it in more than one product. Always check with your pharmacist if you are taking any prescribed medications. Your pharmacist can advise that it is safe and won't have any interactions.

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