Photo: Adam VorheesBy Jessica Girdwain
No one has time to run to the doctor for every stuffy nose or aching muscle, but relying on over-the-counter (OTC) drugs for seemingly minor health problems sometimes does more harm than good. In certain cases, medication can make symptoms worse or mask more complicated conditions. Read this, then decide which route--a pill or an appointment--is best for you.
The Problem: You woke up with congestion, a runny nose, and a phlegmy cough.
Pill or Doc? Pill. For up to one week while you ride out a cold, take a cold medicine that contains an antihistamine (to dry out passages) and a decongestant (to open airways), says Marc Leavey, MD, an internist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. And don't forget to drink plenty of fluids. Though doctors may prescribe Z-Paks (six tablets of azithromycin, the most commonly prescribed antibiotic in the United States) to treat cold viruses, they're effectiveRead More »from Achoo! when You Should See a Doctor