Choosing the Best Cold Medicine Based on Your Symptoms

Best Cold Medicine 

Every year, millions of Americans catch a cold, with the majority of people getting two or three colds every year. The “common cold” is usually caused by one of 200 different rhinovirus strains.

Because colds are caused by a virus for which there is no treatment, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for preventing or curing them. Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, on the other hand, can help alleviate your symptoms and reduce the impact of the cold on your daily activities. Because most cold medications cure multiple symptoms, it’s a good idea to figure out which one is the most bothersome and bases your decision on that.

One thing to keep in mind is to avoid taking two drugs with the same active component. If you take two doses, you risk having too much of the medicine in your system. More side effects or other major health problems may result as a result of this.

Always check expiration dates and side effects on labels.

Brand name
Drug name
Sinus headache Advil, Aleve ibuprofen, naproxen
Runny nose Benadryl diphenhydramine
Stuffy nose Sudafed, Suphedrine PE pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine
Fever and aches Advil, Neoprofen, Tylenol ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen
Sore throat and coughing Delsym 12-hour, Tussin Cough (DM only) dextromethorphan
Nighttime Benadryl, Unisom diphenhydramine, doxylamine
For children Children’s Tylenol acetaminophen

For sinus headaches, the best cold drug is:

When your sinuses are congested, you may experience cranial pressure and a “packed up” feeling in your nasal passages. The most common symptom people associate with a “head cold” is a sinus headache. Decide whether you want to treat the discomfort caused by your sinus blockage or the blockage itself to treat a sinus headache. Ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) is two pain relievers. Although a decongestant like pseudoephedrine (found in Sudafed) might help relieve congestion, it has been known to cause restlessness or agitation as a side effect.

What is the best cold medicine for a runny nose?

The body’s reaction to the inflammation and irritation caused by a cold virus in the nasal passages is a runny nose. If you have congestion and take a decongestant for a runny nose, your symptoms may improve. A decongestant, on the other hand, may have side effects such as rising blood pressure or making your nose and throat feel overly dry.

That’s why, if you’re not too congested, diphenhydramine (commonly known as Benadryl) can be a better option for drying up a runny nose. Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine, which means it inhibits your body’s natural response to irritants and pathogens, which may assist if your runny nose is caused by histamines being released. Benadryl may cause drowsiness, which is why it’s recommended to take it before bed.

For a stuffy nose, the best cold medicine is:

You may feel as if you’re straining to breathe because of a congested nose. It can also persist in your sinuses after the other symptoms have gone away. Try a decongestant containing the active component pseudoephedrine to ease a stuffy nose (Sudafed). It works at the level of your nasal passageways’ small blood vessels to minimize swelling and dry out the mucus your body generates, allowing you to breathe more easily.

Another decongestant for a stuffy nose is phenylephrine. However, neither of these decongestants should be taken more than four times each day.

For fever and pains, the best cold medicine is:

Fever and pains are brought on by inflammation in the body. Inflammation can be reduced and discomfort alleviated by treating it. Ibuprofen can help with fever and muscle aches. Ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen are both nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is another pain reliever that can aid with fever and pains, while it is not an NSAID.

For a sore throat and cough, the best cold medicine is:

If your coughing is irritating your throat, seek a dextromethorphan-containing drug. Dextromethorphan aids in the control of the signal from your brain to your body that you need to cough. This can help you recover from a sore throat by reducing your coughing symptoms, but it doesn’t treat the source of your coughing.

Guaifenesin is a component found in some dextromethorphan-containing medicines. This component is an expectorant, which thins mucus and aids in “productive” coughing, which means coughing out the mucus that could be irritating your throat and chest.

The best cold medicine for sleeping at night

Antihistamines can aid with coughing while also making you tired. When you have a cold, antihistamines such as doxylamine or diphenhydramine may help you sleep better.

The best cold medicine for babies and toddlers

When it comes to picking a drug, toddlers and infants have various safety concerns. Before giving your child cold medicine, you should always contact their pediatrician. The drug and dose are determined by your child’s weight, development, age, and severity of symptoms. Stick to the suggested amount of acetaminophen (children’s Tylenol) for pain management if your child is younger than 6 months.

For children aged 2 and above, OTC versions of ibuprofen, antihistamines, and cough suppressants are available. Cough and cold medicines are taken in excess by youngsters might have dangerous negative effects. If you’re unsure, consult your child’s doctor.

For patients with high blood pressure, the best cold medicine is:

Decongestants might be harmful to the health of persons with high blood pressure and this is recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA). If you have high blood pressure, stay away from the following active ingredients:

  • oxymetazoline
  • phenylephrine
  • pseudoephedrine

Instead, take an expectorant like guaifenesin and look for over-the-counter medications designed specifically for persons with high blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, the AHA also recommends avoiding NSAIDs like ibuprofen, as they might have harmful side effects if used too frequently. If you have any questions about how cold drugs can affect your blood pressure treatment, talk to your doctor.

Natural remedies for colds

There are certain home remedies that can assist relieve symptoms in addition to OTC drugs.

Get a lot of rest

When you have a cold, rest is one of the most important things you can give your body, as regular sleep can help your immune system.

Ensure your body is well hydrated

Staying hydrated with water or herbal tea can help thin mucus, relieve congestion, and relieve symptoms in general.

Inhale the steam from a shower or a hot water bowl

Steam can help you breathe more comfortably by gently loosening congestion.

Use a humidifier

A humidifier in your sleeping area might help keep your nasal passages clear.

Supplements Containing Zinc

Zinc supplements have been demonstrated to improve your immune system and may be able to lessen the duration of your cold, though more research is needed on optimal dosage.


Honey is pleasant to the throat and may help to reduce coughing.


Garlic has antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities that may help the immune system work well.


Antibiotics are used to treat coughs and colds. Antibiotics are ineffective in the treatment of the common cold. Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections, although colds are usually caused by viruses. If you get a secondary illness caused by bacteria, you should consult a doctor about your options for treatment.

In Conclusion

The fact that it’s known as “the common cold” doesn’t mean the symptoms are simple to cope with. When picking a cold medicine, think about the symptoms that are bothering you the most, as well as the time of day you’ll be taking it. Always heed the dose instructions and avoid taking drugs with the same active ingredient twice. It normally takes 7 to 10 days for a cold to go away. If you’re still sick after that, or if your symptoms increase, you should contact a doctor.

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