• Wellness Center
  • Stock your medicine cabinet for colds and flu

    As cold and flu season closes in, learn which products you'll need to help stave off colds and relieve uncomfortable symptoms.

  • An ounce of prevention

    Prevention is key. Even if those around you are sick, to the following steps may help you stave off a cold or flu.

    • Make sure you eat healthy foods and get plenty of rest.
    • Keep your hands away from your face.
    • Wash your hands frequently, especially around others with a cold or flu.
    • Consider getting a flu shot prior to flu season, especially if you are 50 or older (check with your doctor to make sure a flu shot is right for you).

    Medicine cabinet necessities and more

    The following treatments and products can help make you more comfortable if you become ill. Please note that this list is not comprehensive and some of the following suggestions may not work for everyone. 

    • Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen: For body aches, products with aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help ease pain and keep down any fever. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), these products are only appropriate for adults. Follow all instructions on the label, and do not take more than one cold, fever, or flu-relief medication at once unless instructed to do so by a doctor. Many of these medications have the same active ingredients, and if you take more than one you risk an overdose.
    • Thermometer: Use a thermometer to monitor a fever. Take your temperature every two hours or whenever a change in symptoms occurs.
    • Washcloths: Applying wet washcloths to your head can help cool a fever.
    • Tissues: Stock plenty of tissues for runny noses. For more comfort and less abrasiveness, try tissues with lotion. Smaller packs are perfect for taking on the go.
    • Petroleum Jelly: Petroleum jelly can help ease any redness and irritation caused by excessive nose blowing.
    • Decongestant: Decongestants can help clear a stuffy nose. The NIH suggests always following the instructions on the labels, and always consulting a doctor before administering medications to children. In some states you may need an ID to purchase medicines containing pseudoepinephrine.
    • Cough Medicine: For persistent coughs brought on by illness, the NIH strongly recommends against giving cough and cold drugs to children under six, even if it’s labeled for children, without first consulting you doctor. These over-the-counter cough remedies include guaifensin (expectorant), which helps break up mucus and make coughs more productive, but likely will not work in children and may have serious side effects.
    • Nasal Spray: For stuffy or runny noses, nasal decongestant sprays can quickly help clear breathing, while antihistamines reduce the amount of mucus. According to the NIH, both have potentially dangerous side effects and gentle saline nasal sprays may be more appropriate.
    • Liquids: Drink plenty of liquids. Herbal tea and chicken soup can help relieve some symptoms of congestion. Hot tea with lemon can help ease the pain of a scratchy throat.
    • Humidifier: Adding moisture to the air can help ease nasal stuffiness and dry sinuses. Hot showers may also help alleviate symptoms. 

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