What’s in Your Medicine Chest?
COLD AND FLU
With cold and flu season right around the corner, take a look into your medicine cabinet to take stock of the contents. If you don’t feel well, you certainly don’t feel like making a trip to the drug store or grocery. Here’s a list of some of the basics to have on hand. Take the time to gather them now so you or a family member can start to feel better more quickly. Please note: in recent years, many cold and flu preparations are required to be kept behind the pharmacy counter; if you don’t see these non-prescription products, ask the pharmacy.
A WORD ABOUT H1N1 FLU
Many people have voiced a concern about H1N1 flu (swine flu). At present the consensus is that this flu in its present form is NOT more virulent but is more contagious than our seasonal flu. Visit the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.
SYMPTOM RELIEVING MEDICINES
Afrin® nasal spray – for nasal congestion. Can be used for 2-3 days. Instead of spraying as directed, lean head back and drip several drops into each nostril. Discard the bottle after use during an illness and DO NOT use the bottle between family members.
Saline Nose Spray – use for increased or thick nasal drainage, to loosen secretions 2-3 times a day.
Ibuprofen or acetaminophen– for fever, aches and pains. Available under many names: (Advil®, Aleve®, Motrin® and Tylenol® or store name brand). Follow direction on label for doses. If fever persists for longer than 3 days, call your doctor.
WARNING: Aspirin is recommended ONLY for adults over the age of 18. Use of aspirin in younger patients who have the flu may cause a rare but serious illness called Reye’s syndrome.
Mucinex ®/guiafenisin - to thin secretions. Take as directed.
Cough syrup- can ease coughing when taken as directed. But remember that a cough can be an indication of something more serious. If it persists for more than a few days, you should call your doctor.
Throat lozenges/cough drops – to sooth a sore throat or calm a cough.
Just a reminder: A combination of cold and flu products may contain many of the ingredients above. Be careful not to duplicate ingredients and risk overdosing. Even though these medications are sold over the counter, they may still be dangerous if not taken as prescribed.
OTHER HELPFUL INFORMATION
An Oral Thermometer – These are inexpensive and easy to use. Make sure your medicine cabinet has one.
Drink plenty of liquids – Keep these items available to prevent dehydration: water, tea, broth, sports drinks or electrolyte beverages for infants.
Get plenty of rest – Studies indicate the important of adequate rest/sleep (at least 7 hours nightly for adults) help to keep the immune system healthy.
Humidifier – personal or whole room size. This will help increase the humidity in the air which winter heaters removes
Don’t forget to wash your hands! Hand washing is one of the best ways to decease the transmission of germs and viruses. Make it a habit to wash them regularly and especially before and after venturing out into public places.
MOST IMPORTANTLY- IF YOU ARE SICK DO NOT GO TO WORK/SCHOOL TO AVOID SPREADING THE FLU TO OTHERS.