The World Around Us

Medicine and Drugs

How does cold medication work?

Unfortunately, doctors and scientists still have not found a cure for the common cold! Cold medicines work by trying to minimize the symptoms of a cold while your body is busy fighting the virus that caused it in the first place. Some medicines, like those you buy at your local drugstore, work by using antihistamines, pain medicines, and decongestants to help relieve symptoms. These include all of the things you typically associate with a cold: a runny nose, a scratchy throat, sneezing, and dry or itchy eyes. Other cold remedies try to help strengthen or support your body’s immune system while it fights the cold. These include vitamins (often vitamin C), zinc supplements, and echinacea. You shouldn’t expect these to bring immediate relief to your symptoms as you would with over-the-counter medications, though.


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