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Cold and flu tablets

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read

Most of us have felt the effects of a common cold – adults get one once or twice a year, and children up to six times a year. Less people have had the flu, but it's another bothersome virus causing trouble. Symptoms can include a blocked nose, sore throat, headaches, muscle aches (not always), cough (dry or chesty), sneezing, temperature (not always), and loss of taste or smell.

Doctor’s advice

How to treat it at home?

It is important to get plenty of rest and make sure you maintain fluids 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 you to take acetaminophen or ibuprofen regularly to reduce your temperature and relieve the body pain you may be experiencing. 

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

Pharmacist recommended products

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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, Robitussin has a line of products to address these symptoms. However, if you are a diabetic, then we would recommend that you buy Robitussin Cough + Congestion DM, as this is one of the few sugar-free cough syrups 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 take lozenges or use throat sprays that have a numbing agent in them, such as Chloraseptic.

All-in-one products

There are a multitude of all-in-one products that help combat lots of symptoms at once. This is more convenient for people as it saves time from 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 acetaminophen, 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 if it is safe and won't have any interactions.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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