Self-Care for Pain, Cold and Flu
Fever, Body Aches, Headache, Pain Cough Congestion Dehydration Other
Things to consider before taking over the counter medications:
- Interactions with chronic medications: If you take a daily medication, before taking any over-the-counter medications, please check here for interactions.
- Active Ingredients: Check labels for active ingredients: Medications can be sold under many different brand names but contain the same generic drugs or multiple generic drugs. Read labels carefully to avoid taking more than one medication containing the same drug. For example, phenylephrine is contained in Dayquil, Sudafed PE, Mucinex Sinus Max, and Advil Sinus Congestion and Pain.
- Underlying health conditions, medication allergies: If you have underlying health conditions or medication allergies and have questions about what is and is not safe to take please contact Health Services for help with symptom management.
- If these medications are ineffective or if you have questions, please contact our office.
OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATIONS AND SUPPORTIVE MANAGEMENT
To start take EITHER:
Acetaminophen (Tylenol), take 650 (two 325mg tablets) to 1000mg (two 500mg tablets) every 8 hours as needed (up to 3 times a day). Do not take more than 3,000mg of Acetaminophen in a 24-hour period. Many cold and sinus medications contain acetaminophen so make sure to factor this into your total daily dose.
An NSAID medication like Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) 400mg every 6 hours as needed OR Naproxen (Aleve) 220mg 2 tabs every 12 hours as needed (Do not take both Naproxen and Ibuprofen in the same day).
If your fever/pain returns prior to the time when your next dose is due, you can alternate dosing of Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen (or Naproxen) - see below for example.
- Tea with honey and lemon; vocal rest
- Guaifenesin is an expectorant that helps to loosen mucous (whether in chest, sinuses, throat, etc); follow package instructions
- Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant; follow package instructions.
- Dextromethorphan can interact with medications used for anxiety and/or depression. If you are on one of these medications, contact health center for guidance with cough suppression.
*Sample Dosing schedule for fever management: (all suggested doses are as needed.)
9 am: Acetaminophen (325mg) 2 tablets
1pm: Ibuprofen (200mg) 2 tablets
5pm: Acetaminophen (325mg) 2 tablets
9pm: Ibuprofen (200mg) 2 tablets
1am (if awake): Acetaminophen (325mg) 2 tablets
5am (if awake): Ibuprofen (200) mg 2 tablets