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Decongestant (e.g. pseudoephedrine)

Relieve nasal congestion and improve air flow

Single dose gives relief for 3 to 10 hours

Safe to use for 3 days

1st generation antihistamines (e.g. Benadryl)

May reduce nasal secretion but does not improve recovery time

2nd generation antihistamines (e.g. Claritin)

Non-sedating but no anticholinergic activity and no evidence to support their use alone in controlling rhinorrhea

Antihistamine-Decongestant combo

Have been shown to improve short-term nasal symptoms

Vitamin C

Daily intake of 1 g is associated with a reduction in duration & severity of symptoms

Zinc lozenges

Improved benefit (reduced symptoms & duration of the cold) when started with the onset of symptoms

Echinacea purpurea

Probably effective in the prevention and treatment of common cold in adults

May reduce the severity of symptoms among children if given early

North American ginseng

Given daily starting in November for 4 months significantly reduces number, severity and duration of colds

Acetaminophen or ibuprofen

May be helpful for fever or headache in pre-school children

Saline drop

Aids in cleaning the nose in infants