HEALTH REPORT: Picking the right medication

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - When you're not feeling well, choosing the right medicine for your symptoms can feel like a daunting task.
Rhiannon Walker takes a look at ways to make sure you are selecting a proper remedy in this week's Health Report.
Rhiannon Walker; Reporting>>: We've all been there, standing in the cold and flu aisle staring at the wave of medicine before us.
Asking ourselves which one do I need?
But according to Pharmacist Angela Giallourakis, while the options may seem endless, the best place to start is making sure the medication is safe for you to take.
Angela Giallourakis; Pharmacist at Cleveland Clinic>>: "It is important to look at the box and see what's in there, how many ingredients are there and then check the contraindications for if you have a disease state. If you're taking a medication you can have overlap, maybe it causes a spike in blood pressure, or maybe it can be harmful with something you're currently taking."
Rhiannon Walker; Reporting>>: Once you, or your pharmacist, have determined a medicine is safe, look for products that match your symptoms.
Giallourakis recommends sticking to cold medicines versus allergy medicines.
Both contain antihistamines, but cold medicines contain the type that are designed to dry up a runny nose and post-nasal drip, which may also help relieve a cough.
A dry cough that lingers for more thank a few weeks can be treated with a D-M cough product to stop the cough-however Bronchitis should not be treated with this type of medicine.
Chest congestion and a cough that brings up mucus can be treated with products that contain guaifenesin which are designed to bring up more mucus.
Folks can find relied from stuffy symptoms by using a decongestant.
Giallourakis says that products that contain pseudoephedrine are more effective, but require a photo I-D to purchase them.
A nasal spray designed for congestions can also help treat a stuffy nose but shouldn't be used for more than three days.
And when it comes to herbal medicines to relieve pain symptoms, Giallourakis says they are not proven to be effective.
Angela Giallourakis; Pharmacist at Cleveland Clinic>>: "There are herbal products available over-the-counter that are marketed for cough and cold symptoms. Most are not recommended. Things like vitamin C, Echinacea. They can help maybe shorten the duration or severity of symptoms, but very minor. "
Rhiannon Walker; Reporting>>: Giallourakis says that certain people should use extra caution when shopping for cough and cold medicines, especially children, pregnant or nursing women, people with high blood pressure, glaucoma, or thyroid disease.
For this week's Health Report, I'm Rhiannon Walker.