Cold Medicine Side Effects

cold medicine side effects

Side Effects of Taking Cold Medicine

As winter hits us all over the country, so is cold and flu season which leaves many of us running to the pharmacy to pick up over the counter medicine. The pharmacy luckily is lined with rows of remedies such as cold and cough syrup allowing for brief relief, especially to sleep. Our question for you is, have you ever read the ingredients for the cold medicine you take? Here we’re going to discuss what’s in the medicine that you take during flu season and how these cold medicine side effects affect you.

What’s in cold & flu severe medicine?

The first thing most people run to in the pharmacy is the severe cold and flu medicines that give the most relief. This keeps individuals from making an immediate visit to the doctor and keep symptoms of the cold and flu at bay. Here is a list of the most common elements of the severe medicines:

  • Acetaminophen – pain reliever like ibuprofen that is also a fever reducer
  • Dextromethorphan – cough suppressant which calms the urge to cough by stopping the signals in the brain that trigger the need to cough
  • Guaifenesin – expectorant that helps ease the congestion in the chest and throat allowing one to cough more easily
  • Phenylephrine – decongestant that makes the blood vessels in the nasal airways shrink because when they are dilated, more congestion occurs

Together, these medicines can help treat headaches, fever, body aches, cough, congestion in the chest nose and sinus as well as the common cold and flu. It’s important to read the label and instructions to make sure that you aren’t taking more than recommended. Make sure to visit a doctor if the symptoms are still severe after three days and get a medical evaluation.

Severe cold medicine side effects can be cause by allergic reactions as well as taking more than recommended. When an allergic reaction occurs, the cold medicine side effects noticed can be:

  • Hives
  • Trouble breathing
  • Swelling of the face
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Swelling of the tongue

If you notice any of these cold medicine side effects a doctor should be notified immediately, if not a trip to the hospital.  Other cold medicine side effects that should be taken seriously are:

  • Chest pain
  • Uneven heart rate
  • Extreme dizziness
  • Mood changes
  • Seizure
  • Fever
  • Changes in urination
  • Pain in the stomach
  • High blood pressure

Taking cold medicine such as cough syrup doesn’t come without any side effects but most of them don’t warrant a trip to the hospital. Common cold and cough syrup side effects may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Mild headache
  • Mild nausea
  • Mild diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry nose
  • Dry throat
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty sleeping

The rule to follow is if anything becomes severe, it’s best to visit the doctor.

PM medicine taken during the day

Taking nighttime, or PM, medicine during the day is a very easy error. It’s possible to so urgently need medicine that you completely miss the sign for PM on the bottle, or don’t even realize. Cough syrup side effects can be felt more in the PM doses because of the active ingredients that make you sleepier.  The common cough syrup side effects cause drowsiness, dizziness and blurred vision as well as the symptoms listed above.

Taking PM medicine during the day can have adverse effects on thinking and general safety as stated on most medication labels and since it makes you drowsy avoid activities that require alertness. The same thing goes for if you accidentally take PM medicine during the day, try to stay away from driving and other activities that require being alert. Let someone know that you have taken the medicine, if you are not at home, and stay home if you can until the length of the dose ends.

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