A chill is in the air, 'tis the season for viruses and colds. These illnesses are highly contagious, as seen in the prevalence in household members and classroom populations who seem to all be sick at the same time. The spread of these conditions occurs with coughing, sneezing, and most anything and everything that the ill person touches.

Before I begin sharing my personal and professional suggestions, I must clarify standard precautions. The advice shared here is intended for those individuals who do not have other chronic illnesses, who do not have allergies to any products mentioned, and is only for those known to be otherwise healthy. This information is not intended to replace medical care from your usual and customary healthcare provider. Please discuss any specific medical concerns with your personal physician; your pharmacist is also a good resource about over-the-counter remedies and whether there is contradiction between them and your other prescriptions.

Typically, colds come on gradually, and disappear gradually. Typically, 'the flu' has a rapid onset of symptoms, primarily respiratory symptoms of cough, head congestion, sore throat, fever, chills, aching, and profound fatigue.


Increased rest;

Increased fluid intake;

Wash your hands with warm soapy water several times each day for treatment and prevention;

Monitor your temperature; stay home when oral temperature is 100.5 degrees fahrenheit or greater;

No aspirin for CHILDREN; treat fever with alternate fever-reducing over-the-counter medication.

For ADULTS, it is safe to use aspirin, or fever-reducing medication of your choice.


*always following dose directions on the package; double check whether appropriate for children

Emergen-C 2 – 3 times/day

Coricidin HBP Cough and Cold as directed on package

Aspirin (adults only) 3 – 4 times/day, with food

*for children, other fever reducer product, as directed on package

Mucinex (plain or DM; NOT 'D') 600-1200 mg 2 times/day

Any cough syrup or cough drops will relieve and lessen the annoyance of persistent coughing

Some rationale for these recommendations:

Sudafed and other decongestants cause elevation in blood pressure; many people experience a rebound effect from Sudafed, i.e. it makes congestion worse instead of better after 2 days of use.

Emergen-C contains vitamin C, zinc, and other minerals that increase immunity.

Aspirin treats fevers very effectively, as well as relieves the aching.

Mucinex is guiafenesin; Mucinex DM is guiafenesin with dextromethorphan; action is that it loosens mucus in sinus and chest to reduce chance of getting a secondary bacterial infection. If nasal secretions or coughing produces dark yellow or green mucus for more than a day or two, while you are running a fever, see your personal physician, or go to Urgent Care. At that point, you may need prescription medications.

Email me if you have questions: nurse@goodshepherdmpls.org

Be well!