Cold And Flu Medications


The common cold is a viral infection that requires symptomatic treatment. It is usually self-limiting. Influenza is often referred to as the flu. There are several differences between them including the onset of the condition as influenza is typically more acute in onset and more debilitating. Treatment of both conditions requires a symptomatic approach that should be evidence-based.


Rhinoviruses and influenza viruses can cause infections during anytime of the year, are more common in cold weather, since the virus lipid envelope is hardened in low temperatures, hence protecting the virus, and rendering their transmission easier. OTC medications that are used to relieve cold and flu symptoms contain the following active ingredients (Shown in below table), considering that each ingredient must be dispensed according to the symptoms present.

Antibiotics should not be used for treatment. Obese, asthmatic, diabetic and patients with chronic health problems are at stake for developing complications from influenza virus, in order to prevent complications by shortening the duration and reduction of its severity, antivirals may be prescribed, including: Zanamivir, Oseltamivir, Peramivir.


There is not enough evidence to support the use of OTC drugs in the prevention. Receiving an influenza vaccine may reduce the likelihood of acquiring seasonal influenza. Treatment is aimed at alleviating symptoms, also herbal remedies may be effective.