I Have a Cold. Medications?

Well, I have a cold/upper respiratory thing (Merry Christmas, dammit!) and now face a week to 10 days of symptoms. Yay me. Anyhow - what do you feel is the most effective non-sedating treatment?

Usually, I take pseudoephedrine and ibuprophen, along with the use of a neti pot and boxes of facial tissues.

Unfortunately, it’s the holiday season and I work retail, so I can’t really take time off work if I’m not running a fever/dying/collapsing. Trying to figure out the most expedient way to get through this.

I believe there is some evidence that zinc can shorten the duration of a cold.

On preview - some, but not very much.

Get well soon.


Oxymetazoline nasal spray (e.g. Afrin) is a very effective decongestant for me. However, it has a common nasty side effect: if you take it for several day sin a row, and then stop, you’ll get even worse “rebound” congestion than when you started. I only use it for one or two days at a time, basically when I have to get some work done without stopping to blow my nose every two minutes.

My boss recommended Zicam, the zinc medicine. I started feeling the symptoms yesterday, so I bought some and dosed myself religiously. It did fuckall. I hope you find something better. Good luck!

Zicam is worthless because it’s homeopathy.

The best you can do with a cold is take pseudoephedrine, use Afrin to get thru the worst couple of days of stuffiness, then come off the Afrin by using a saline nasal spray. The sprays with menthol are extra-effective. Drink lots of water and eat chicken soup. Use a humidifier. Ibuprofin works fine if you need it for fever and are a grown-up.

Robitussin makes a cough suppressant pill, which does work on milder coughs. Just be careful to buy the one that’s ONLY cough suppressant, not a mix of stuff.

Really strong black tea with some honey can open up your air a tiny bit. It contains theophyllin which is a bronchiodilator. (I feel like it helps me breath better but science says the theophyllin in tea is just a trace amount, so maybe its more of a placebo…) in any event, warm liquids also sooth the throat and keep you hydrated, so you don’t lose much by trying.


Oddly for a cold you dont want to suppress the symptoms. Sure, if you cant breathe, take something.

Do take zinc, and Vit C (it may not help, but it cant hurt, just dont get carried away with megadoses). A large glass of water with some Emergen-C might help. Do stay hydrated. Do drink chicken soup.

I agree with** GrumpyBunny** about the saline nasal sprays with menthol . Drug free and it works.

Olbas makes a nice drug free nasal Inhaler. If you use their “therapeutic bath” you’ll relive congestion and also help with aches and pains.

I’ve had luck with MucinexDM as far as OTC stuff goes. When its time to go RX, Cheratussin has worked best for me.

My nose isn’t so much stuffy as running like a faucet. My nostrils need a drool bucket. But I’ll keep that suggestion in mind.

Yep. Lots of water. Water with a splash of fruit juice for flavor. Hot tea. Ice tea (I like tea, can’t you tell?). Crockpot has been cleaned up and will be fired up this afternoon to produce yummy food. Also have instant soup broth on the shopping list.

The spouse got that up and working for me last night, the sweetie.

:smiley: Well, physically I’m grown up, maybe not mentally… :stuck_out_tongue:

I, too, have heard that the theophyllin in tea is too little to make a difference, yet most asthmatics I’ve known are hard-core tea drinkers. Anyhow - I already consume black tea multiple times per day. In the event I have breathing issues I have a prescription strength bronchiodilator (which I haven’t needed so far).

Keeping hydrated at work might be more of an issue, but I’ll worry about that one tomorrow.

Thanks for the suggestions and good wishes.

For runny/snotty nose I prefer pseudoephedrine hcl but it’s such a pain to buy these days I rarely have it in the house, so I go with one original Benadryl (diphenhydramine) pill and a few shots of espresso. For chest colds I don’t have any good/preferred symptom treatments.

For my emotional trauma (I hab a code… why meeeeeeeee?!) I medicate with Odwalla Blueberry B Monster.

If your nose is runny stay well clear of Mucinex. It increases the runniness in my experience. Both pseudoephedrine hcl and diphenhydramine will do a lot to dry up a runny nose.

Afrin will immediately open your sinuses and stop the dripping. (The feeling is a little alarming at first!) One dose lasts for 12+ hours, perfect for taking right before work.

Again, don’t take it for more than three days!

Hot lemon & honey.

Take one pint of boiling water, squeeze one lemon into it, add a spoonful of honey, and let cool a bit.

BTW I just looked up Afrin and apparently it’s addictive.

It’s “addictive” in the sense that if you use it for a while and then stop, a lot of people get “rebound congestion”. If you use Afrin to treat the “rebound congestion”, you get stuck in a vicious cycle.

You’re fine if you limit your use to 2 or 3 days.

Yep, read the back of the house-brand Afrin box and it does say “use no more than 3 days”. Also checked with my-dad-the-pharmacist. He says OK for a few days, not longer.

It did help, although not quite to the extent lazybratsche implied. Then again, being a first-time user I may have fumbled the initial application. I’ll dose myself before work tomorrow. Might skip the evening doses, it’s OK if I drip all over my own home after all.

Heck, in the past I’ve used codeine cough syrup, Ambien, and briefly Xanax, all of which are potentially addictive and never had any problems with them. Um… and NOT all at the same time, either! Then again, I’m pretty anal about following dosing directions.

Aside from the congestion I actually feel alright. I’ll make sure to push extra fluids and get some extra rest anyway, though.

For congestion, I like a steam with eucalyptus and grapefruit essential oils. Big bowl of steaming water, drop in some essential oils, put a big bath towel over the bowl and your head under the towel. Stay under there 10-20 minutes or as long as you can stand it.

This is essentially a big warm version of the saline with menthol, only with eucalyptus (which many of the saline with menthols also have) and grapefruit, which I think are simultaneously gentler and more effective.

After you steam and blow your nose a couple of times, then a saline neti-pot to rinse the ol’ inner schnozzola. Make sure you’re using sterile saline or distilled water with the correct level of salt (more is not better). In a pinch, you can use water that’s been boiled at least three minutes and then cooled, but it’s very important never to use water right out of the tap.

I was an Afrin addict. It was unbelievably horrible. Please, take the three day limit seriously.

In related news, accidentally neti-potting one’s “inner schnozzola” with hot honey tea is not recommended. (There was a fairly drastic “drinking problem” related to a badly-timed and totally unexpected cough.)

Also now my sinuses have sugar in them. Yay me?

Nyquil, for sleeping, can get you some solid rest, which does wonders to help me get over a cold faster. Just don’t take more than one dose per night…

Other than that, I take a minimum of one dose of pseudoephedrine every day when I have congestion. I’m prone to sinus infections, and getting a good drain once a day helps to prevent those from developing.

Pseudoephedrine (regular sudafed, the kind you need ID for) dries my nose right up. YMMV.

me too! :smiley:

Hope your cold goes away quickly. Sorry you can’t take time off for this, retail sucks for that. :frowning: