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UVA Pharmacists Warn Some Cold Medications May Do More Harm than Good

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Pharmacists say to consult your doctor if you don't know what to take Pharmacists say to consult your doctor if you don't know what to take
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

With cold and flu season in full swing, many people turn to over-the-counter medicine for symptom relief.

However, some of the more popular go-to cold medications may do more harm than good.

Medical professionals say something a lot of people forget is that there is no cure for the common cold, and every type of medication can cause some serious side effects if you're not taking the right stuff.

Many over-the-counter brands claim to tackle more than one symptom - like symptoms associated with cold and flu.

But, if you don't exhibit one of the symptoms the medication is meant to treat, you could be doing more harm than good to yourself.

That's why pharmacists at University of Virginia Health System say it's better to take medicine specific to your symptoms, even if that means taking more than one type.

“I know when you're not feeling good, times get desperate and you can make those knee-jerk decisions to just grab the thing that looks like it has the most bang for your buck and that's not the right way to do it,” Justin Vesser, the pharmacy supervisor at UVA Health System, said. “That's gonna potentially not give you the benefit, but it's gonna give you extra side effects. I would say, ask an expert. Ask your pharmacist.”

Certain side effects from medications include high blood pressure from some decongestants, asthma from some antihistamines, and diabetes from sugary cold medicine.

Pharmacists stress that the best way to know what to take is by asking your doctor or someone at the pharmacy.

They add that the best way to cure a cold is with plenty of fluids and rest.