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Q: Which over-the-counter cold remedy is right for me?

Posted December 18, 2013 in Advice Column, Downtown

A: There is no cure for the common cold. However, it does still have the ability to put us out of commission for weeks. So when that cold hits, how do you navigate the labyrinth of cold products that line pharmacy shelves? Here are five quick tips. • Watch for duplicate ingredients. Combination products such as DayQuil, Advil Cold and Sinus or Tylenol Cold and Head Congestion all may seem like attractive solutions because they say on the package that they will treat your symptoms. For example, if you already take Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen) for headaches these ingredients may be duplicated in combination products. • Treat only your symptoms. Combination products may contain ingredients that will have no benefit for you. Look for these ingredients to treat certain symptoms: Phenylephrine: decongestant effective in relieving nasal congestion. Guaifenasin: expectorant, thins mucus to relieve chest congestion. Dextromethorphan (DM): cough suppressant. Acetaminophen: pain reliever, to treat headache/sore throat/achiness. Ibuprofen/Naproxen: anti-inflammatory, to treat headache/sore throat/achiness.• Follow dosing instructions. Read labels carefully to get the symptom relief that you need while avoiding an excessive dose. • Ask your pharmacist. Explain your symptoms and what type of relief you want so that the pharmacist can help you chose the best product to suit your needs. • Wash your hands regularly. This will help you from getting a cold in the first place.

Information from provided by Ben Koenig, for Hammer Pharmacy, 600 E.  Grand Ave, East Village, 243-4117.

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