Your Account
close button

Use our patient tools for secure, convenient, 24/7 access. Learn more

This facility is a member of

Hill Country Health Blog

Your guide to over-the-counter cough and cold treatments

Dec 17

Written by:
12/17/2015 5:58 PM  RssIcon


Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for treating a cold or respiratory virus. While there is no cure for a viral infection, there are several over-the-counter options for symptom management. 

Decongestants like Sudafed can be a good option, but they can elevate blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, this is something you should be aware of. We only recommend using nasal decongestants for three days because they can cause you to become more congested over the long term.

Cold Medicines

Cough Suppressants
Cough suppressants usually have “DM” in the title, which stands for Dextromethorphan. I recommend taking cough suppressants at night because that’s when drainage going down the back of the throat can make you more miserable. You can also elevate the head of the bed to assist with drainage.

Expectorants like Mucinex help you cough up mucous in your chest. Drink plenty of water when taking them because they can make things dry up (which is good), but you need water to moisturize to break things loose.

Mixing Meds
It is important to keep tabs on all the different medicines you’re using to avoid overtaking one element or another, especially If you’re using the combination medicine. It’s really not a concern to take a decongestant at the same time as a cough suppressant, because that’s what the cough and cold combination medicines are. Just be sure you’re not taking another over-the-counter or prescription cough and cold medication that has the same elements in it to avoid the risk of overdosing or side effects.

Treating Children
Cough and cold products are not recommended for children under the age of six. You can still give your child Tylenol if they’re more than two months old and ibuprofen if they’re more than six months old.

Other safe options for children include nasal saline and vaporizers. If your child is at least one year old, one teaspoon of honey is recommended for cough as needed. Once your child reaches the six year range, treat them by symptom, avoiding cough and cold combination medicines when you can.


About the Author

Dr. Amy HernandezAmy Hernandez, MD, is a primary care physician who sees patients at the Live Oak Health Partners clinic in Wimberley, Texas.  

Cough and cold medicines graphic

Your name:
Gravatar Preview
Your email:
(Optional) Email used only to show Gravatar.
Your website:
Security Code
Enter the code shown above in the box below
Add Comment   Cancel 
Activity Advanced Wound Care Adventist Health System AHS allergies American Heart Month Antibiotic overuse Antibiotic resistance Antibiotics Asthma Avis Harris-Caldwell Baby balance balding Barbara Piersol bariatric surgery BCRA test Birth Control blood clots Bobby Ewell Bone Density Bone Health brain function breast cancer Breast Cancer Awareness Breast Cancer Awareness Month Brest Self Exam broken heart syndrome budget Cancer carbohydrates carbs cardiac cardiac care cardiologist cardiology cardiovascular cardiovascular diseaes cardiovascular disease cath lab Cedar Fever celiac disease Charles Mathis child safety Childbirth childbirth center Childbirth Classes Childhood Obesity Cindy Carpenter Coconut Cold Cold Season Cooking Tips COPD Corridor Primary Care Cosmetic Surgery Cough CREATION Health Crockpot CTMC Childbirth Center CTMC Events CTMC Family Grief Center CTMC Foundation CTMC Health Tip CTMC Heart Center CTMC Hospice CTMC Hospice Care CTMC Institute for Advanced Wound Healing CTMC News CTMC NICU CTMC Rehabilitation Institute CTMC sleep center CTMC Women's Center CTMC Women's Center for Breast Health da Vinci da vinci surgery Dads Darrell Piersol deep vein thrombosis Deititian Delivery Dental Care Dentist Depression Diabetes Diabetes Recipes Diabetic Foot Ulcers diet dietitian Direct Anterior Hip Replacement discounted health screening doctor visit doctor's office Dr. Amy Hernandez Dr. Anthony Cedrone Dr. Bill Davis Dr. Bryan Hambric Dr. Charles Mathis Dr. Erik Anderson Dr. Lenore DePagter Dr. Mary Geldernick Dr. Michael Blair Dr. Nayer El-Ashram Dr. Pradeep Mohan Dr. Risa Curtis Dr. Robert Duran Dr. Scott Solomon Dr. Stephen Richardson Dr. Stephen Swearingen Dr. Stuart Shapiro Dr. Sue Ann Harrison Dr. Susan Hudson Dr. Teresa Irwin DVT Ear Infections Eating Healthy EKOS embarrassing health concerns Embryo Adoption Emergency Medical Services Employee Giving EMS endometriosis energy drinks ENT Exercise Exercise at home fall prevention family trips Fashion from the Heart February 2017 Fentress Leisure Camp Fertility Fertility Institute of Texas Fertility Treatment first aid kit Fitness Flu Flu Season Flu Vaccine food Foodie Football Gallbladder Gallbladder Flush gastric bypass gastroenterology General Surgery Gluten Grateful Patient Profile gynecology hair loss Head Lice headache health health and fitness health apps health fair health screening health tip HealthCheck healthy diet healthy eating Healthy Foods Healthy Living healthy meal healthy recipes Healthy Snacks heart attack heart disease heart health Heart Scan heart screening Heart Transplant Herb Koenig Hernia Hill Country Hip Pain Hip Replacement home health Hospice Hospice Care Hospital Safety Score Hospitalist hyperbaric oxygen therapy immunotherapy Infertility infographic Inks Lake insomnia Interventional Cardiology IVF Jackie Duran Janie Kothmann Jessica Sanders Jessica Sanders NP joint health joint pain Joints Karen Chisum Kayde Wolf Labor Landa Park Laser Atherectomy Laser Cath Lauren Beller Leapfrog Group Lesley Castillo libido lice limb salvage liquid Live Oak Aesthetics Center Live Oak Health Partners Live Oak Health Partners Live Oak Health Partners Community Clinic Live Oak Occupational Health Clinic Live Oak Walk-In Care Live Oak Women's Care Longevity lung disease Magnetic Resonance Imaging Mammogram Margie Lieck Medical Imaging medication Men's Health Mental Health metabolism migraine Miriam McCoy Mom and Baby Mommy Makeover Mood Disorders MRI Murray Kast Murray Kast LPC narcolepsy Neonatal Intensive Care Unit neurology NICU nutrition nutrition tips OB/GYN Obstetrics Occupational Health Occupational Medicine Occupational Therapy Oral Health Orthopedics Osteoperosis Ovarian Cancer Pediatrician Pediatrics Periodontal Disease peripheral arterial occlusion Personal Health Information pharmacy PHI PHI Program Physical Therapy Pink Month Pinktober Plastic Surgery pregnancy Prenatal Care Primary Stroke Center pulmonary embolism Pulmonologist Rebecca Shively Respiratory Virus Robbin Koehler NP Robert Duran MD robotic surgery robotic-assisted surgery robotics Roger DeHoyos Rx Safety Tips Scott Gregson Scott Yarbrough single-site surgery Skin to Skin bonding sleep apnea sleep disorders sleep study Slow Cooker Sound Physicians Speech Therapy Spring into Giving State Parks staycation Stephanie Burns stroke sugar Supplements surgery Tailgate tech Texas State University third party reproduction Tiffany Lee Tim de Jong Toning Tony Garcia RRT Type 1 Diabetes urgent care Vaccinations Vitalitly Vitamins weight weight loss weight loss surgery wellness Wimberley Women's Center Women's Center for Breast Health women's health Women's Health. BRCA test Working Out wound wound care wound salvage program

Central Texas Medical Center
1301 Wonder World Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666