Sickness does not discriminate, on average adults get one to three colds every year and according to the Centers for Disease Control, colds are the most common illness experienced by children. Although colds can happen anytime of the year, winter is the prime time for a case of the coughs or sniffles to strike. Experts say there are a few things to consider before automatically turning to medications for symptom relief.
Most over-the-counter medications can relieve the symptoms of a cold, but not always without risk. Liver damage is associated with overuse of acetaminophen and decongestants run the risk of raising blood pressure. Joan Duwve, the chief medical consultant with the Indiana State Department of Health, suggests taking medications sparingly, drinking plenty of fluids and getting extra rest. Warm liquids such as tea or soup are very effective for breaking up congestion and honey can be used for a persistent cough. Avoid using all-in-one medications, pinpoint your symptoms and find a medicine that specializes in those areas. The average run time for a cold is about a week, if symptoms last longer than 10 days call your medical provider immediately.