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World's Best Advice for your Common Cold!

74. REPOST: Colorado Doctor’s Advice on Common Cold Care

One of the better online advice articles I’ve seen, although he says colds last 10-12 days and includes, but does not emphasize, warm steam as a therapy, and is rather too favorable for my liking of the Over-The-Counter meds...
medicine pill

Which cold medicines work?

by Dr. Phil Mohler
Suffering poet Ogden Nash in response to his physician:

“I did not call you to be told

My malady is a common cold.”

Colds happen two or three times a year for most adults, and more often if you spend time with kids. Colds tend to hang around for 10-14 days in spite of the billions of health care dollars that are spent on them annually. Mr. Nash correctly implies that there is a better way to spend a morning than to visit your physician with your lousy cold.



• Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) for headache or other discomforts.

• A humidifier or vaporizer in your bedroom will help your stuffy, plugged-up nose.

• Over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines and decongestants are modestly helpful for sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes, but keep in mind these products are associated with lots of side effects.

• Lemon and honey teas work as well as dextromethorphan and other OTC medications for coughs.

• Lemon/honey throat lozenges and salt water gargles help sore throats.



Avoid these treatments that do not work.

• Antibiotics — Save them for serious bacterial illnesses.

• Airborne — This vitamin boondoggle will only give you expensive urine and a dent in your pocketbook!

• Vitamin C — It does prevent scurvy, but has no effect on cold symptoms.

• Nasal zinc — It is not effective and can result in permanent loss of sense of smell.

Dr. Mohler has practiced family medicine in Grand Junction for 38 years. He has a particular interest in pharmaceutical education. Phil works part-time for both Primary Care Partners and Rocky Mountain Health Plans.

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