The Fever Fighters: Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen and Towels
A fever is your body's normal response to infection in the form of an increased body temperature. Fevers can cause additional symptoms like shivering, sweating or quickened breathing. Check for a fever by using a thermometer (feeling someone's forehead is not entirely accurate).
If fever is over 100°F or is making you uncomfortable, reach into Dr. Oz's Rescue Kit. Alternate between taking acetaminophen and ibuprofen. This combination of drugs targets different receptors and delivers a one-two punch to fevers. Switch back and forth between them every 4 to 6 hours until your fever is gone or you feel better; be sure not to exceed the maximum dosage for a 24-hour period, as indicated on the package. For a remedy to feel better instantly, try putting cool or wet towels on your neck and underarms. Doing so targets where most major blood vessels run and provides soothing relief.
The Sore-Throat Remedy: Black Currant Lozenges
Experts predict that 15 million people will see the doctor this year for a sore throat. Caused by inflammation, a sore throat from a cold will appear red and most likely be accompanied by a runny nose. Treat the nagging pain with black currant lozenges.
Black currant contains gamma-linoleic acid, a fatty acid that soothes the throat and decreases inflammation. These lozenges are a smart alternative to taking menthol, which provides a cooling sensation but can actually break down your body's good mucus and damage the throat over time. Instead, pick up some black currant lozenges from your local drug store. Additionally, if your throat has white patches or pus, you should consult your doctor. This could be a sign of a bacterial infection that requires an antibiotic.
The Cough Quieters: Suppressants With Dextromethorphan or Expectorants with Guaifenesin
The first step to treating a cough is to identify if it is dry or wet. A dry cough occurs when your vocal cords slam together explosively, causing irritation and more coughing. This reflex can actually damage the throat, so you want to use a cough suppressant to stop the symptom entirely. Look for a bottle that says "DM" which stands for dextromethorphan and lasts for 12 hours.
If your cough is accompanied by mucus, it's classified as a wet cough. Look for a syrup or pill with an expectorant, which thins the mucus, clears your airways, and quiets the cough. Choose a product containing the ingredient guaifenesin. Take the recommended dosage with a glass of water to help get rid of congestion and lubricate the throat.
Next: How to boost your body's defenses