Cold & Flu Medicine

Cold & Flu Medicine

Cold medicines are a group of medications taken individually or in combination as a treatment for the symptoms of the common cold and similar conditions of the upper respiratory tract. The term encompasses a broad array of drugs, including analgesics, antihistamines and decongestants, among many others.

The common cold and the flu are both respiratory illnesses with similar symptoms, but they are caused by different viruses. While the flu is caused only by the influenza virus, colds are caused by rhinovirus and a number of other viruses. The three things that distinguish cold and flu symptoms are severity, speed of onset, and type of symptoms.

A cold typically comes with a stuffy nose, sore throat, and/or sneezing and symptoms develop gradually. Flu symptoms are typically more severe than cold symptoms and tend to come on more quickly. Symptoms more common with the flu include fever, fatigue, and/or aches. Cold and flu symptoms are very similar, though, so it’s best to confirm which respiratory virus you have with a flu test when symptoms arise. Talk to your healthcare provider if you think you need to take a flu test.

What to Do for a Cold or Flu

There is no cure for the common cold. It’s important to get plenty of rest and fluids while your body fights off a cold virus. Antibiotics only treat infections caused by bacteria, so they can’t treat a cold, since it is caused by a virus.The flu, caused by the influenza virus, also requires you to get plenty of rest and fluids while your body fights off the virus. Most people recover from the flu on their own. But there are anti-viral prescription drugs that may be used for treatment in patients who are diagnosed within 48 hours from the start of their symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider if you think you need an anti-viral drug.

How to Stop Cold and Flu Symptoms from Getting Worse

Though there are limited options to treat a cold or flu, you don’t need to suffer through the symptoms. Vicks has plenty of over-the-counter multi-symptom relief medicines that can provide relief from even your worst cold and flu symptoms. The key is to identify what combination of symptoms you are experiencing, so you can pick products with the active ingredients that relieve those symptoms.