When dealing with a cold or flu, it’s important to consider whether medication is necessary. While these illnesses often resolve on their own within 9-10 days, there are medications available to alleviate symptoms. However, it’s worth noting that many cold and flu medicines provide temporary relief and may not be essential for recovery. Here are some commonly used medications that can be optional:

Phenylephrine: This over-the-counter medication is a popular choice for relieving nasal congestion. However, some pharmacy researchers have suggested that phenylephrine is no more effective than a placebo. It works by narrowing blood vessels in the nasal passages, reducing swelling and improving airflow. It’s important to consult a pharmacist before taking this medication, as long-term use may cause blood pressure-related issues.

Antihistamines: These drugs are often taken to alleviate symptoms of cold and flu, primarily targeting mucus production and promoting better sleep. However, research on antihistamines has yielded disappointing results. It’s important to note that cold and flu are caused by viruses, not bacteria, so taking antibacterial drugs will not provide relief. Sore throat caused by certain bacteria requires different medications than those used for cold and flu.

Natural remedies for cold and flu:

Lozenges: Zinc gluconate lozenges can provide relief from symptoms associated with cold and flu. However, the taste of these lozenges is often unpleasant, which may deter some people from using them.

Steamy baths: A hot and steamy bath can help alleviate nasal congestion that commonly accompanies a cold. The steam helps to clear excess mucus from the nasal passages. For added effect, a few drops of eucalyptus oil can be mixed into the hot water. It’s advisable to go to bed immediately after a steamy bath and ensure proper warmth by wearing appropriate clothing.

Steam inhalation: Inhaling steam is another popular and cost-effective way to relieve cold symptoms. Similar to a steamy bath, it helps clear nasal congestion. Adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the hot water can enhance the effect. It’s important to rest and cover yourself with warm clothing after a steam inhalation session to maximize its benefits.

Honey: Consuming a tablespoon of honey before bedtime can help reduce coughing by around 20 percent, providing instant relief from cold and flu symptoms.

It’s worth noting that ample rest and proper hydration are essential for treating cold and flu. While medications and natural remedies can help alleviate symptoms, the body’s natural healing process, along with sufficient rest and hydration, is often the best approach to recovery.