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Medicine for colds

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes 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, fever (not always), and 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 acetaminophen or ibuprofen regularly to reduce your temperature and relieve any body aches 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, you could use Covonia Dry & Tickly cough linctus. However, if you are a diabetic, we recommend buying a product like Robitussin for dry or chesty cough, as this is one of the sugar-free cough syrup options 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 such as Chloraseptic, which has a numbing agent.

All-in-one products

There are all-in-one products that help combat lots of symptoms at once- such as Nyquil or Dayquil. This is more convenient for people as it saves time from taking multiple products at once.

It is advised to check which products are safe to combine with your pharmacist. This is because a lot of products contain acetaminophen, so 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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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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