Sometimes common health ailments can be helped by taking over-the-counter medicines. This guide will help you to understand which ones work best for your needs.
Over-the-counter medicines (OTC treatments) are drugs that anyone can buy without a doctor’s prescription. That’s the reason people often use OTC medicines as their go-to solution when suffering from common health ailments such as aches and fevers.
However, since you’re buying the drug without a prescription, the least you can do is understand how these OTC drugs work.
Otherwise, you might worsen your condition by taking the wrong medication.
And so I thought it would be helpful to share with you a simple guide that helps you to know how common over-the-counter medicines work.
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In this particular article I will focus on how common over-the-counter medicine work for various common health ailments.
IMPORTANT: I’m a health researcher and wellness writer. But I’m not a doctor who knows your personal health issues.
Please keep in mind that everyone’s body and health background is different. Please check with your personal doctor to make sure any medicine you take – even over-the-counter medicines – is right for you. After all, even over-the-counter medicines can affect different people in different ways! So please always be safe with what ever medication you take.
Antibiotics are perhaps the most popular OTC medicine on the market. These are drugs that fight bacteria by killing them or slowing down their growth. And so, antibiotics are often used to treat common bacterial infections such as:
There are over a hundred antibiotics in existence. But if you’re looking for OTCs, the most common ones are amoxicillin, cephalexin, and penicillin.
Take note that antibiotics are not effective against viruses. They also don’t work against flu or common cold – or any other condition caused by viruses for that matter. Such cases call for a different type of treatment.
Analgesics, or better known as painkillers, are drugs that can relieve pain. They may not completely cure health ailments. But they relieve you temporarily until your condition subsides.
One fact that not many people know: Certain analgesic brands have fever-reducing effects, or are antipyretic. This makes them perfect against the flu and common cold.
Analgesics may also treat fatal health conditions characterized by constant pain, such as genital herpes. If you’re interested in this topic, click here to find out more.
Dextromethorphan is certainly not the most popular type of medication. But it’s another effective OTC treatment nonetheless. It’s specially good for coughing.
Remember that coughing isn’t always a bad thing. It may also be your lungs’ effort to filter out invading particles.
Only take dextromethorphan if you feel like it’s getting in the way of work.
As a cough suppressant, it’s also possible to use this medication to deal with allergies.
But it’s best used along with antihistamines to get the best results.
Histamines are chemicals released by your body as a reaction to harmful particles or allergens.
Antihistamines inhibit these chemicals, making them the best drugs to treat allergic reactions.
You’ll find antihistamines in different forms, such as sprays, liquids, or pills.
Decongestants are usually taken when you have a stuffy nose.
So how can decongestants work together with antihistamines to treat a cold?
Believe it or not, common colds are pretty harmless, although it may not feel like it.
When you have a common cold, your goal is to simply ease the discomfort until the cold naturally subsides. Decongestants are perfect for this situation. They can shrink swollen blood tissues and vessels. In fact, this is usually the main reason why you feel pain or discomfort when suffering from common colds.
Loperamide is an over-the-counter medication as well as an anti-motility medicine—a type of medication that treats inflammatory bowel diseases. If you’re suffering from diarrhea, or any inflammatory bowel condition for that matter, loperamide is the best solution.
People also tend to incorporate loperamide with bismuth subsalicylate due to their similarities. But these two types of OTC medications are unique in their own ways.
Bismuth Subsalicylate is better known for its brand name: Pepto-Bismol,.
But Bismuth Subsalicylate is actually a general OTC medication often used to treat discomforts felt in the gastrointestinal tract or stomach.
While bismuth subsalicylate and loperamide might be similar, they have different efficiencies and treatment duration.
Over-the-counter medicines are cheap. But that doesn’t mean you should take these medications without any prior deliberation.
Remember, even though there’s no need for a prescription, there are still safety guidelines to using OTC drugs.
It’s always a good idea to consult your doctor first before taking OTC products – especially if you’re dealing with unfamiliar medications.