What Types Of Cold Medicine Are Included? Do You Know How To Use It Correctly?

What Types Of Cold Medicine Are Included? Do You Know How To Use It Correctly?

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1. Overview Of Colds

The cause of a cold is usually a virus. They enter the body through the eyes, nose, and mouth and cause infection in the upper respiratory tract. Below are some symptoms of colds that people often experience:

  • Sneezing, sore throat;

  • Stuffy nose, runny nose;

  • Dry cough or cough with phlegm;

  • Fatigue, mild fever, headache.

Factors that increase the risk of catching a cold include: decreased resistance, children under 6 years old, or long-term smokers.
In fact, there are more than 200 types of viruses that cause colds and most patients with colds will recover within 1-2 weeks. However, there are also cases where a cold lasts more than 14 days, or the disease progresses with more serious symptoms such as: difficulty breathing, cough with bloody phlegm, high fever,... at this time the patient needs to go. seek medical intervention as soon as possible.

Colds are the most common disease during the changing seasons, especially autumn, winter, and spring. Adults can get it 2-3 times/year, whereas children often get it a lot (8-12 times/year depending on the child) because their immune system is still weak and not fully developed like an adult's.

2. How Many Types Of Cold Medicine Are There?

Some cold medications that can be mentioned include:

  • Cough suppressants

Cough suppressants will affect the central nervous system, helping to inhibit cough reflexes. Some cough suppressants include pholcodine, codeine, and dextromethorphan. Codeine medicine has side effects such as drowsiness, constipation and drug dependence. In addition, the drug cannot be used in children under 12 years old and is not recommended for adolescents aged 12 - 18 years old.
The remaining 2 types, Pholcodine and dextromethorphan, cause fewer side effects than codeine but also more or less make users feel sleepy and dependent on the drug. Therefore, if you have to drive or operate machinery, you should not take the medicine.
Note: You should only use the above medications to treat dry cough. In case of cough with phlegm, the medicine is not effective. For patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you should consult your doctor before using dextromethorphan.

  • Decongestants

The main mechanism of action of decongestants is to constrict blood vessels, helping to reduce swelling of the mucous membranes inside the nose, thereby helping to reduce symptoms of stuffy nose and difficulty breathing.
Decongestants include ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylephrine. Besides the above uses, decongestants can cause some side effects such as increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and difficulty sleeping. Therefore, you should not take medicine before bedtime and it is not for people with high blood pressure. Patients with glaucoma who want to use decongestants also need advice from a specialist.
In any case, you should not use nose drops and nasal sprays for a long time because if you abuse them, the condition will become more serious.

  • Expectorants

The main effect of expectorants is to reduce the density and dilute the phlegm in the respiratory tract, thereby easily expelling mucus from the airways.

  • Pain relievers and fever reducers

Fever and body aches are also common symptoms of a cold. At this time, the patient can use some medications such as aspirin, paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce fever and relieve pain.
However, patients with liver failure need to be careful when using these drugs because the drug's ingredients can cause liver damage and even threaten the patient's life if overdosed.
In addition, ibuprofen and aspirin both cause side effects of irritating the stomach lining. Especially children under 16 years old should not take aspirin because the risk of Reye's syndrome is very high, unless specifically prescribed by a doctor.

  • Antihistamines

Another type of medication that also helps treat symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and runny nose due to colds is antihistamines.
The drug is effective when used to treat nighttime cough symptoms, especially coughs caused by allergic rhinitis and nasal discharge. Most antihistamines used to treat colds are brompheniramine or chlorphenamine. Similar to some cold medications mentioned above, patients should not use antihistamines if they are driving a vehicle or operating machinery. In addition, this medicine is not suitable for treating coughs with phlegm.
For patients with glaucoma, COPD or difficulty urinating due to prostate enlargement, they should discuss with their doctor in advance when intending to use antihistamines.

3. Do Not Use Antibiotics If You Have A Cold

Antibiotics are drugs that are only used in cases where the patient is infected with bacteria that cause infectious diseases. Meanwhile, colds are often caused by viruses, so using antibiotics is unnecessary because they do not help treat the cause of the disease and are also dangerous because of the high risk of side effects.

Therefore, the main method to treat a cold is to use medication to control related symptoms, combined with drinking plenty of water, getting enough rest, and supplementing necessary nutrients to help your body recover quickly.

4. General Notes In Using Cold Medicine

Before using cold medicine, you should carefully read the information in the attached instruction sheet, follow the correct dosage as recommended by the doctor and manufacturer;
Understand the side effects that may be encountered during medication use to know how to prevent and promptly handle them;
Do not drink alcohol or use stimulants when taking cold medicine because it can increase toxicity and interact with the medicine, reducing the effectiveness of treatment;
As mentioned, some cold medicines can make patients feel more sleepy, so they should only take medicine at home before going to bed. Do not take medicine at work, while operating machinery or equipment. in traffic,...;
There are drugs that cause insomnia because they contain caffeine, so you should not use drinks that also contain this ingredient such as coke, coffee, tea, etc., which will make you lose sleep even more;
You should take the medicine according to a fixed schedule during the day. If you miss a dose, take it again as soon as possible. If the missed dose is close to the time of the next dose, take the medicine as planned and skip the old dose. Absolutely do not add doses together;
Some people, such as pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, should consult their doctor before using cold medicine.

Thus, cold medicine is effective in treating and controlling unpleasant symptoms when patients have a cold. For optimal drug use, patients should follow the manufacturer's instructions and recommendations. If after 14 days the cold symptoms do not improve, the patient should see a doctor to find out the cause and receive proper treatment.