Welcome back! In our last blog post, we explained the seriousness of this year’s H3N2 flu strain that is only just beginning here in Newark. We also looked at some of the best ways Newark residents can avoid and reduce flu illnesses this season. First, we recommend getting your flu shot this season and while it may not prevent you from getting influenza, it may help reduce the severity should you get sick. Today, we will look at some of the top pharmacist and doctor recommended over-the-counter (OTC) cold and flu medications that may reduce your symptoms.

Decongestants

Common symptoms of the flu include a stuffy nose and sinus congestion, which can make it hard to breathe, smell, and taste. A nasal congestion is quite uncomfortable and can even lead to redness, inflammation, and increased sensitivity to touch. OTC medications like Sudafed that contain pseudoephedrine, and DayQuil that contain phenylephrine, could ease your congestion. Just be sure to check with your TIB pharmacist to make sure a decongestant is right for you, as these medications can cause hyperactivity and may keep you from sleeping. Additionally, these medications don’t mix well with certain prescription drugs, so check with your pharmacist before taking these if you’re on other medications.

Expectorants

Another common flu symptom is coughing and chest congestion that is caused by a buildup of phlegm in the lungs. A dry, hacking cough is a sure sign of influenza and should be treated right away. Expectorants like Mucinex help to thin and loosen mucus, while also relieving chest congestion. Coughing up mucus is a good thing, as it is part of clearing your system of the flu, which is why an expectorant can really help reduce your flu symptoms. It’s best to check with your pharmacist first to make sure you’re taking the appropriate dose, and whether or not an expectorant will mix well with other medications.

Pain Relievers

OTC pain relievers like Aleve that contains naproxen, and Bayer aspirin, can both alleviate neck, back, and shoulder pain that is common from coughing, and may help ease general aches and pains caused by the flu. To relieve a fever caused by the flu, acetaminophen and ibuprofen are our go-to choice, along with using a cold compress on the forehead.

Antihistamines

Antihistamines like Dimetapp and Benadryl may help if you’re experiencing itchy, red, watery eyes and a runny nose, although these are not common influenza symptoms. You might also try Visine eye drops  to reduce any eye irritation. Keep in mind that antihistamines have sedative properties that can cause drowsiness, so these may help you sleep. Talk to your TIB pharmacist before taking antihistamines to find out if this is an effective medication for treating your flu symptoms.

Contact Your Newark Pharmacy

If you are experiencing flu symptoms, call TIB Pharmacy and speak to our pharmacist to find out how best to address your illness. We can determine which OTC medications will work best for your specific needs, and look at prescription medication options. If you haven’t gotten a flu vaccination, we recommend getting one now which can help you avoid getting ill, and may help reduce symptoms should you become sick. Call us today!