The common cold, flu, and allergies are different health conditions, but they also share a lot of the same symptoms. These symptoms can include nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, fever, headache, body aches, sore throat, cough, and chest congestion.
The common cold is often associated with several symptoms occurring at the same time. Multi-symptom cold medicines, also known as cough and cold combination products, are medicines that are used to treat multiple symptoms that can accompany a cold or flu. Be sure to review the general tips for the safe use of multi-symptom cold medicines.
In addition to the tips in the general multi-symptom cold medicine section, below is information regarding multi-symptom cold medicines that also contain ingredients for runny nose and sneezing.
Runny nose and sneezing: Some multi-symptom cold medicines contain antihistamine active ingredients to help relieve runny nose and sneezing. These may be the same active ingredients as the ones used in allergy medicines.
*Not all products sold under a brand contain the same ingredients. Please read the OTC Drug Facts label carefully for active ingredient information for specific products.
- Always read the OTC Drug Facts label carefully. The label tells you everything you need to know about the medicine including the ingredients, what you are supposed to use it for, how much you should take, and when you should not take the product.
- You should choose a multi-symptom cold medicine which matches the symptoms you are experiencing (see under the section “Uses” in the OTC Drug Facts label).
- Some antihistamine-containing medicines may cause excitability or nervousness.
- Some antihistamine active ingredients may cause drowsiness. Be sure to read the warnings listed on the multi-symptom cold medicine’s Drug Facts label.
- If you have emphysema, chronic bronchitis, glaucoma, or an enlarged prostate gland, talk to your doctor before taking an antihistamine-containing medicine.
- Multi-symptom cold medicines containing antihistamines may react with certain prescription medicines. Speak with your doctor or other healthcare professional before using a multi-symptom cold medicine containing antihistamines if you are taking tranquilizers or sedatives.
- Talk to your doctor before taking a multi-symptom cold medicine containing an antihistamine if you have liver or kidney disease.
- Talk to a healthcare professional before taking an antihistamine-containing medicine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
All of the tips for the safe use of OTC multi-symptom cold medicine containing an antihistamine active ingredient in this section also apply to children. But like most OTC medicines, there are some additional considerations when it comes to treating kids.
- Do not give any type of oral multi-symptom cold medicine to a child under the age of four.
- Do not give any OTC medicine that is only intended for an adult to a child.
- Some antihistamine-containing medicines may cause excitability or nervousness, especially in children. You should always take care when giving any medicine to a child. If you have any questions, contact your child’s doctor.
- Never use any multi-symptom cold medicine to sedate or make a child sleepy.
Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
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