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Skidmore College
Health Services

Supportive Care Recommendations for Viral Illness (Covid, cold, flu, etc.)

If you have underlying health conditions or medication allergies, please contact Health Services for help with symptom management. If you take a daily medication, before taking any over-the-counter medications, please check here for interactions.



Over-the-Counter Medications and Supportive Management 

Fever, Body Aches, Headache, Pain, Sore throat

  • 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.


  • 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 *

If these medications are ineffective or if you have questions, please contact our office.


  • 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.*



  • Nasal Saline Spray (salt water spray for the nose for nasal congestion)
  • Steam inhalation (ex: hot shower)
  • Decongestant (ex: phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine - follow package instructions)



  • Stay hydrated! Drink 2-3 liters of water a day.
  • Waiting until you are thirsty is a signal that you are behind on fluids. Hydration is especially important if you have fevers and sweats.


  • Thermometer
  • Cough drops/lozenges
  • Salt packets for salt water gargles
  • Gatorade or Pedialyte

* 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 

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.