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Last modified: Tuesday, 18-Jul-2017 21:37:48 EDT

University Health Service (UHS)
Health Promotion Office

Choosing Over-The-Counter (OTC) Medications

Most cold symptoms can be relieved with over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Below is a list of OTC medications to use with the various symptoms of a common cold. These medications can be purchased at UHS offices. You do not need to make an appointment to purchase cold care medications or other OTC medications at UHS.

With so many medications to choose from when you have a cold or flu, choosing the best product can be challenging. It is important to read the labels of each product. Most cold and flu preparations contain a combination of ingredients. If you take more than one product, you may actually be getting a double dose of an active ingredient and/or not getting enough of another. Use OTC medications for temporary use only, unless instructed by your health care provider.

Young adults should avoid taking aspirin for cold symptoms. Aspirin, which contains salicylates, has been implicated in the development of Reye Syndrome, an uncommon, but serious complication of viral illnesses, such as colds in children and young adults. Tylenol® is a better choice.

It is a good idea to have a thermometer, so you can monitor your temperature when you are not feeling well. When you call UHS to schedule an appointment, you may be asked if you have a temperature. If you do not have a thermometer, you can purchase one at the University Health Service or at a local pharmacy.

For nasal congestion, thick mucus, sinus headache:

For congestion with cough:

For runny nose/sore throat/fever:

For fever:

For sore throat