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Consumer Reports Health News
Date:9/16/2009

n cold has become a complicated decision -- ditto for flu and allergy drugs. For example, Tylenol sells 11 products for colds and coughs and another seven for allergy and sinus problems -- not including the formulations for children. A new guide by Consumer Reports Health offers advice on what to buy, what to skip, and what to beware of.

Generally, Consumer Reports Health recommends shopping by the active ingredients -- preferably one -- in a drug, not by brand. In addition, consumers should consult a doctor before taking an over-the-counter drug that was formerly prescription-only.

For colds, the best remedies are usually the simplest and often found in the kitchen, not a drugstore. Consumer Reports Health suggests a saltwater gargle for a sore throat and honey or other non-medicated lozenges for a cough. Everyone should get an annual shot against seasonal flu. Antivirals are effective at treating flu symptoms, but they're best if taken within 48 hours of symptoms and overuse is to be avoided to prevent development of antiviral-resistant strains. For allergies, prevention by limiting exposure to triggers is often key. Generic over-the-counter drugs are often a good first choice for controlling allergy symptoms, according to Consumer Reports Health. To read the full report, go to www.ConsumerReportsHealth.org.

SEPTEMBER 2009

The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for commercial or promotional purposes. Consumer Reports on Health(R) is published by Consumers Union, an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. To achieve this mission, we test, i
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