The best over-the-counter cold medications of 2021

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If COVID-19 weren’t enough, we now have a cold circulating. In other words, “that bug,” which causes fatigue, a sore throat, and a cough – and wakes you up in the middle of the night.

Knowing which pills, sprays, and treatments to have on hand and ready for those gloomy days when you don’t feel so good is more important than ever.

So what exactly is this bug that is circulating?

“Rhinovirus is one of the biggest types of colds, where you can experience a cough, cold, congestion, and sometimes a mild fever,” Bindiya Gandhi, MD, board certified in family medicine and integrated with over 10 years of ‘experience, told the Post. “Sometimes this can be mistaken for allergies, depending on the time of year, because there are fall allergies outside of spring.”

The common cold can last from three to ten days, she added.

What is the difference between the common cold and the symptoms of COVID-19?

“The cough and congestion levels can be similar, but the main difference is that the symptoms of COVID-19 tend to be more respiratory related, like shortness of breath,” she said. “People also experience loss of taste, smell and some gastrointestinal problems, whether it’s nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.”

Since some symptoms overlap, Dr Gandhi recommended taking a COVID-19 swab test, even with a mild cold or cough. “Nine times out of 10 it could be a simple cold, but it’s good to assess whether it’s something more serious.

Can I take Advil or Tylenol to treat my cold?

Here’s the scoop: Advil is ibuprofen, and since acetaminophen works best for fevers and mild body aches, you’ll want to take Tylenol, according to Gandhi. “You can alternate acetaminophen with ibuprofen for fevers. If you have liver problems you don’t want to take acetaminophen and if you have kidney problems you don’t want to take ibuprofen, ”she explains.

What medicines should I take to prevent a cold?

Below, find a few over-the-counter products to take, especially if you want to say no to this bug. But be sure to talk to your doctor about any health concerns.

“Make sure you get seven to eight hours of quality sleep, minimize alcohol and sugary and processed foods as this can weaken your immune system,” Gandhi added. “Make sure you exercise and reduce stress – stress weakens your immune system and can make you sick. “


Align Dualbiotic, Prebiotic + Probiotic for Men and Women, $ 21.99 (originally $ 24.99)

Align Dualbiotic, Prebiotic + Probiotic for Men and Women

“Probiotics are a great supplement to take in the morning on an empty stomach because they help boost your immune system,” Gandhi said.


Nature’s Bounty 500 mg Vitamin C Supplement, $ 10.69 (originally $ 16.99)

Nature's Bounty Vitamin C

“Vitamin C is another preventative that I highly recommend with a minimum dose of 500 mg,” she said. “You can go up, as tolerated. “


NatureWise Vitamin D3 2000 IU, $ 14.49

NatureWise Vitamin D3 2000iu
  • To count: 360 mini soft gels

“Vitamin D is another great vitamin to take to help boost your immune system, especially if you are deficient – which is the majority of the population,” she said. “Taking 2000 IU is helpful, and make sure it is vitamin D3 as it is the most active form.”


Sandhu Herbals Zinc 50mg supplement, $ 12.95

Sandhu Herbals Zinc Supplement 50mg

“Zinc is good to take all year round, especially during cold and flu season,” she said. “I recommend a minimum of 50 mg. If you take too much or on an empty stomach, you may experience nausea and vomiting.


NatureWise Curcumin Curcuma Supplement 2250mg, $ 23.99

NatureWise Curcumin Turmeric 2250mg

“Curcumin is a component of turmeric and has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties,” she said.


Nature’s Way Astragalus Root 1,410mg Supplement, $ 13.49 (originally $ 17.99)

Nature's Way Astragalus Root Supplement 1,410 mg

Gandhi said astragalus is good for prevention, especially for immune support.


Terry Naturally Andrographis EP80 Extra Strength, $ 22.36

Terry Naturally Andrographis EP80 Extra Strong

“Andrographis is an excellent supplement used in Chinese and Indian medicine,” she said. “It’s great for preventing colds and flu, but has been shown to reduce the duration of cough, sore throat, and overall improvement compared to taking nothing at all.”


What medicines should I take to treat a cold?

Solaray Echinacea Vitamin C and Zinc Supplement 425mg, $ 14.29

Solaray Echinacea Vitamin C & Zinc Supplement 425mg

“Taking echinacea at the onset of a cold can help prevent the duration of the common cold and improve respiratory symptoms,” she said.


Extra Strength Tylenol Acetaminophen Caplets, $ 9.47

Extra Strength Tylenol Acetaminophen Caplets

“I recommend having Tylenol on board, especially if you have a mild fever,” she said.


Zyrtec Tablets for 24 Hour Allergy Relief, $ 26.48

Zyrtec tablets for 24 hour allergy relief
  • To count: 45 tablets (plus 3 tablets to take away with the bundle)

“Zyrtec, Claritin, Allegra or a general antihistamine is something I would keep if you have allergies,” Gandhi said.

Additionally, seasonal allergy symptoms overlap with some cold symptoms. “You may have watery eyes, a runny nose, a drier cough – maybe a tickling sensation in the back of your throat and itchy or popping ears,” she added.


Mucinex Tablets for Chest Congestion at 12 Hour Peak Strength, $ 24.48 (originally $ 29.99)

Mucinex tablets Chest congestion Maximum strength 12 hours

Gandhi recommended Mucinex as a “good cough medicine” for most people, but be sure to check your blood level with your doctor before use.


Manukora Multifloral Raw Manuka Honey, $ 14.99

Manuka Honey Raw Multifloral Manukora

“Not everyone is well on guaifenesin, which is a good cough medicine. [the general form of Mucinex] because it can increase your blood pressure, ”she said. “I will recommend manuka honey or buckwheat honey. Studies have shown that it helps with your cough, especially if you take it at night.

Gandhi explained that the only precaution with buckwheat or manuka honey is if you’re pre-diabetic or diabetic – just watch your blood sugar levels.


Amazon Basic Care Premium Saline Nasal Moisturizer, $ 6.82

Amazon Basic Care Premium Saline Hydrating Nasal Spray

“I will generally recommend using a nasal saline spray when you already have a cold,” she said. “It’s good to help clear pathogens from your nasal passage to help improve breathing. “

Plus, it can be used with other over-the-counter or prescription drugs, according to Gandhi.


Nature’s Truth Black Sureau 2000mg Supplement, $ 9.99 (originally $ 12.99)

Nature's Truth 2000mg Black Elderberry Supplement

“Elderberry is a European black berry used to treat colds and flu,” she said. “In studies, it has been shown to improve symptoms four days sooner than other conventional treatments.”


Hall’s Relief Variety Pack, Cough Drops (6-Pack), $ 14

Hall's Relief Variety Pack of Cough Drops (Pack of 6)

“Over-the-counter lozenges are good for sore throats,” she said. “The only problem with them is that they have a lot of sugar, but they help soothe the throat.”


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