Skip to content
This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff and is brought to you by Reckitt Benckiser.

Other Options

If you notice a lot more mucus than normal and you have a cold, over-the-counter decongestants that include pseudoephedrine can provide relief, Kemmerly says. Even though they're not prescription drugs, you'll need to get those from your pharmacist and show an ID.

Before taking any products containing pseudoephedrine, talk to your doctor if you have ever had high blood pressure, glaucoma, diabetes, an enlarged prostate gland, or thyroid or heart disease.

Guaifenesin, a mucus thinner found in several over-the-counter cough and cold drugs, may be another option. “Some of my patients swear by it,” Nayak says. Don't give products containing guaifenesin to a child younger than 4. If you're giving them to an older child, follow the directions on the package exactly.

Antihistamines can also help if you have a cold. Just don't overdo it. They dry up mucus, but "sometimes it dries it up so much that it can't drain, which causes more misery," Kemmerly says. There are different types of antihistamines, and your pharmacist can help you decide what type to try.

If you ask your doctor, let them know what you've already taken.

What about prescription steroid nasal sprays? Those are for seasonal allergies, not a common cold.

Kemmerly prefers to let the body heal itself whenever possible.

“The body is designed to do this,” she says. “In mild cases, the best advice we like to give our patients is do nothing except drink plenty of water. Available treatments may make you feel better, but they don’t alter the course of your illness.”

Mucinex

Mucinex® Provides All
Day Congestion Relief

One mucus busting pill. All
day chest congestion relief.
Only Mucinex® has a unique
bi-layer tablet that starts right
away and keeps working for
12 full hours.

Mucinex Fast Max Night Time

Mucinex® Fast-Max®
Night Time Cold &
Flu Relief

Mucinex® Fast-Max®Night
Time. Multi-symptom relief
plus a nasal decongestant.
Breathe easy. Sleep easy.

Previous Slide Next Slide
close

From Our Sponsor

Content under this heading is from or created on behalf of the named sponsor. This content is not subject to the WebMD Editorial Policy and is not reviewed by the WebMD Editorial department for accuracy, objectivity or balance.

All About the Flu

How long you're contagious and other flu facts.

View More

Is it a cold or the flu?

Test your knowledge.

View More

WebMD Answers to Top Cold and Flu Questions

  • Can I do anything to make my cold go away faster?

    While there's no cure for a cold, there are definitely things you can do to help your body beat a cold virus faster...More

  • What causes a common cold?

    The rhinovirus (or other cold virus) enters your body through your nose or mouth and is easily spread...More

  • Can a cold develop into flu?

    The cold and the flu are caused by different viruses. So a cold can't turn into the flu, but...More

close

From Our Sponsor

Content under this heading is from or created on behalf of the named sponsor. This content is not subject to the WebMD Editorial Policy and is not reviewed by the WebMD Editorial department for accuracy, objectivity or balance.