Deciphering the Best Approach for Cold and Flu Relief

The treatment of common cold, cough, and flu
The treatment of common cold, cough, and flu

Encountering a frigid, cough, or analogous flu-like manifestations has become a prevailing occurrence in societal realms. However, the paramount focus revolves around the optimal strategies for mitigating these viral predicaments. Healthcare professionals contend that the essence lies in comprehending the array of choices available to ameliorate symptoms and distinguishing the noteworthy disparities.

In a discourse with Fox News Digital, Dr Elaena Quattrocchi, a pharmacist and associate professor in the Division of Pharmacy Practice at Long Island University in Brooklyn, underscored, “A prescription medication demands authorization from a healthcare provider, whereas an over-the-counter medication facilitates autonomous treatment for ailments such as colds, allergies, migraines, and musculoskeletal discomfort.”

Dr Quattrocchi highlighted that non-prescription medications are accessible not solely in apothecaries but also in supermarkets and alternative retail venues. She accentuated the significance of employing prescription medications solely under the tutelage of a healthcare practitioner, elucidating that certain medications are procurable both over-the-counter and by prescription, contingent on dosage and duration.

Concerning the effectiveness of medications for colds and influenza, Dr Quattrocchi articulated in the Fox News Digital interview, “Prescription medications exhibit superior efficacy in managing influenza owing to the presence of designated antiviral agents. Nevertheless, the timing is pivotal for their efficacy.”

Quattrocchi expounded that substantiating proof validating the efficacy of numerous drugs for colds and influenza is deficient. If symptoms endure or exacerbate subsequent to initial amelioration, it may indicate an underlying infection necessitating medical intervention.

What insights do other authorities provide?

In consonance with reports from Fox News Digital, Dr Aaron E. Glatt, Chair of the Department of Medicine and Chief of Infectious Disease at Mount Sinai South Nassau in Long Island, New York, emphasized, “The singularly proven remedies for influenza are FDA-sanctioned antivirals. While not flawless, they should be employed judiciously under a physician’s counsel.”

Dr. Frederick Davis, Associate Chair of Emergency Medicine at Northwell Health Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York, accentuated that the majority of medications for viral infections predominantly concentrate on symptom management.

“Some prescription medications may target specific viruses, such as Paxlovid for COVID or Tamiflu for flu. These medications might conceivably diminish symptom severity or duration,” he appended.

Delving into potential adverse effects

Experts, including Davis and Glatt, cautioned the populace regarding the potential side effects of non-prescription medications. They underscored that mere availability without a prescription does not equate to suitability for everyone.

Davis particularly spotlighted the potential side effects of Pseudoephedrine, a ubiquitous component in non-prescription medications, encompassing sleep disturbances, vertigo, and nervousness. It can also escalate blood pressure, posing apprehensions for those grappling with existing hypertension.

Furthermore, experts delineated conceivable side effects of nasal decongestant sprays, like Afrin, the forewarning of rebound congestion if employed for a span exceeding three days.

Non-prescription medications for juveniles

Visual Representation – Non-Prescription Medications. Credit | Getty images

Authorities and pharmacists accentuated the precariousness of administering non-prescription medications to juveniles without consulting pediatricians. Dr Quattrocchi underscored, “The FDA discourages the use of non-prescription medications for cough and cold symptoms in children under two years old due to potential severe side effects.”

Quattrocchi also emphasized that adult medications should be eschewed for children, advising against the utilization of aspirin-containing products for fever management in children and cautioning against the use of honey in children under 12 months old due to the risk of botulism, as reported by Fox News Digital.


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