There’s no doubt you’ve depended on a cold and flu tablet to get you through the day at least once in your life. These tablets have been lifesavers for many people when it comes to getting a good night's rest during a dreadful cold or nasty flu. They really do work wonders! But that leads us to the next question; how do they work? With many options now available on the market, we should take a deep dive into how these tablets actually help you feel relief and which ones you should get your hands on. Here’s how cold and flu tablets really work!
What They DON’T do
Cold and Flu tablets do not cure your cold! Although it might feel like it temporarily, your cold is only being relieved, not cured. A cold is caused by a virus, which the immune system must fight in order to leave the body. Your cold will generally resolve itself within ten days, however, nasty ones can stick around for a little while longer. With a nasty cold, comes even nastier symptoms and this is where your trusty cold and flu tablet comes in.
How do They Work?
Within your cold and flu tablet lies an abundance of ingredients that help relieve your frustrating cold and flu symptoms. Let’s go through them one by one.
Phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine are decongestants that help unblock your clogged up nose. It does this by narrowing the blood vessels within your sinuses, which reduces blood flow to the nose and as a result, reduces swelling and congestion. Your blocked nose might be so bad that no air is getting through. If you feel any relief after your cold and flu tablet, you can thank these these ingredients!
Most cold and flu tablets will contain paracetamol to help with achy muscles and joints. Due to your clogged sinuses, you could also be experiencing throbbing headaches. Paracetamol will help relieve both of these frustrating symptoms.
Chlorpheniramine, dexchlorpheniramine or doxylamine are common antihistamines that are found in our everyday cold and flu tablets. These help with the excessive sneezing, sinus irritability and the allergy reactions you may be experiencing. However, keep in mind that this ingredient is what contributes to your drowsiness. Cold and flu tablets that are labelled as ‘night time’ tablets will typically have antihistamines in them. If you’re trying to get through the day and aren’t so keen on the drowsy side effect, try opting for the non-drowsy alternative.
In the night-time options, you will typically find cough suppressants. These too can cause drowsiness, so it’s best to avoid them if you’re still wanting to get out and about. If you are suffering with a nasty cough and you do decide to take cold and flu tablets with cough suppressants, remember that this is only masking your symptoms; you are still contagious!
When our body comes down with a cold, it simply needs time to rest and recover. If taking a cold and flu tablet is going to help you get a good night's rest and relieve some of your symptoms, give it a go! Now that you have a better understanding of what in your tablets and how they work, here are a few great options you can choose from.