Buying Guide: Best Over the Counter Flu Medicines & Remedies

Despite their benefits, there are also some dangerous side effects associated with prescription antiviral drugs. 

When you’re sick with the flu, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the various options in the medicine aisle, all promising you fast relief. Some of these medications target congestion or cough, while others offer multi-symptom relief. However, many of us just reach for the same mix of medicines we always have in our haste to recover quickly. This can be problematic, because many over-the-counter flu medicines have been shown to cause severe side effects1such as nausea, headache, dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, and even heart failure2 

To help you make the right choice in treating your flu symptoms and steering clear of dangerous products, we’ll explain how OTC medicine differs from prescription flu medicine, explore alternative remedies to treat flu symptoms, and discuss how Brillia Health products can help relieve symptoms as well as help you recover from the flu faster. 

Prescription Flu Medicine 

Prescription flu medicine typically involves antiviral drugs, which are available as pills, liquid, an inhaled powder, or an intravenous solution that fights against flu viruses in your body. Unlike OTC medicines, these medications must be prescribed by a health care provider and they are different from antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections. 

According to the CDC3, antiviral drugs are ideal for those who are at high risk of developing flu complications or already in the hospital with a severe illness. The CDC also reports that these drugs decrease flu duration by about one day, especially if taken within the first two days of being sick.

Despite their benefits, there are also some dangerous side effects associated with prescription antiviral drugs. Tamiflu, the brand name for oseltamivir, has caused abdominal pain, bloating, chest pain, diarrhea, drooling, and irregular heartbeat4 in some users. Clinical studies show that Brillia Health’s Cold-Flu Recovery has actually been shown to work better and faster than Tamiflu with no harmful side effects and no prescription required.

Over-the-Counter Flu Medicine 

It’s important to note that even though OTC flu medicines may help relieve symptoms like congestion, cough, and fever, they do not kill the viruses underlying these infections. Instead of addressing symptoms at their source, many OTC flu medications use synthetic chemicals that actually suppress your body’s natural response to getting sick, distracting you with side effects like sleepiness and lightheadedness until your immune system recovers.

When it comes to choosing the right over-the-counter flu medicine, it helps to understand how the flu affects the body in the first place. When we become infected with a virus, our body releases proteins that attach to enzymes to instigate a variety of symptoms, from coughing and fever to inflammation, congestion and body aches. Both of Brillia Health’s products, Cold-Flu Recovery and Cough Control, contain three active antibody ingredients that target the different proteins released by the body in response to the cold or flu. From reducing inflammation to calming the cough reflex to recruiting more immune cells, Brillia Health products work with your body by addressing symptoms at their source and strengthening the immune system so it can do its job more efficiently.  

Find out how Brillia products and other flu remedies work to ease specific symptoms:

Best Remedies for Congestion 

Congestion is your body’s response to bacteria, viruses, or allergens entering the respiratory tract. Recognizing these foreign substances as invaders, the body sends mucus to destroy and remove them. This typically instigates a cough, which is the body’s natural reflex to expel excess mucus. Simultaneously, histamine molecules are released as a part of the body’s inflammatory response, leading to a stuffy nose, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.  

To relieve congestion, try these following remedies: 

  • Brillia Health: Both of Brillia Health’s products contain antibodies that bind to histamines to prevent them from causing inflammation, thus reducing nasal, sinus, and chest congestion at the source. Brillia Health’s Cold-Flu Recovery also contains two additional antibodies, lapine CD4 immune globulin and lapine interferon gamma immune globulin, which target and strengthen immune cells to help them fight off viral infections more efficiently. This medication also recruits more immune cells to shorten the duration of illness.
  • Honey: Because of its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, honey is an effective home remedy for chest congestion. By lubricating the airways, honey helps to clear excess mucus, ease inflammation, and calm coughing at once.    
  • Essential oils: Whether you use a diffuser or apply topically, essential oils like peppermint or eucalyptus can be used as natural decongestants to loosen mucus.
  • Self-care: Sometimes, the best solutions are the simplest. When battling congestion, be sure to stay hydrated and get plenty of rest. If you find it difficult to sleep because of a stuffy nose, try sleeping in an elevated position or use a humidifier to breathe easier.

Best Remedies for a Cough 

Congestion is often accompanied by a cough, which can be either wet or dry depending on the source of inflammation and mucus levels. Either type of cough can also cause a sore throat and fatigue based on the stress that coughing places on the body. 

To relieve coughing, try these following remedies:

  • Brillia Health: Brillia Health’s Cough Control contains antibodies to histamine, bradykinin, and morphine. The first ingredient helps to reduce inflammation, chest congestion, and fluid buildup while the antibody to bradykinin calms the coughing reflex. The last ingredient is not to be confused with the narcotic morphine; it works by blocking pain signals to the brain to relieve the stress of coughing on the body.
  • Humidifier: Dry air has the ability to trigger coughs by irritating the nasal passages all the way down to your lungs. By improving the air quality in the home, a humidifier can help ease a cough and even help you sleep better.
  • Honey: Honey doesn’t just ease congestion; research shows it can also relieve coughing better than some OTC cough syrups, specifically those containing dextromethorphan and diphenhydramine5, which are main ingredients found in Dimetapp®, Robitussin®, Mucinex®, Tylenol Cold & Flu®, Theraflu®, NyQuil/DayQuil®, and Benadryl®.
  • Gargling salt water: Gargling salt water can help reduce and loosen the mucus contributing to a wet cough as well as ease sore throat pain due to salt’s ability to block pathogens from entering the body6.

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Best Remedies for a Fever

When we have a virus, our body temperature may rise to make us less hospitable to the virus and other germs. High fevers need to be taken seriously as they can pose a serious health risk, especially for young children. But when it comes to low-grade fevers, there are some home remedies to help you feel more comfortable as the fever runs its course.

To relieve a fever, try these following remedies:

  • Drink plenty of fluids: Having a fever may cause you to sweat and become dehydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids to replace water loss and feel free to include herbal teas, broths, and soups, which can be soothing if you also have a cough or sore throat. 
  • Stay cool: To bring your fever down and avoid overheating, make sure your room is cool and wear light clothing. Do not try to cool the body drastically, such as taking a cold bath, although sitting in a lukewarm bath can also be beneficial. Just remember that if you start shivering, you’ve gone too far.
  • Medicinal tea: Some medicinal teas can help fever-reducing properties and soothe a sore throat. For instance, elderberry tea is high in immunity-boosting antioxidants and can actually reduce the length and severity of flus.
  • Sleep: During sleep, our body releases proteins called cytokines, which help to fight off infections and inflammation. This is why it is crucial that you let your body rest when you are battling a fever or other symptoms of the flu.
  • Take Acetaminophen (Tylenol): Low grade fevers usually do not require medication, but if your fever is more than 102 F, you can try to lower it with acetaminophen. If your fever is consistently 103 F or higher, or lasts longer than three days, you are encouraged to call a doctor. 

Multi-Symptom Treatments 

When you have the flu, you may be bombarded with a variety of symptoms. Taking a multi-symptom medication is the best way to cover all your bases and feel better faster, but be wary of some OTC multi-symptom medications that overload the body with harsh chemicals. Brillia Health’s Cold-Flu Recovery is an ideal choice for multi-symptom relief, reducing congestion, cough, itchy throat, stuffy nose, and body aches while shortening the severity and duration of your flu without using harsh, synthetic chemicals. If you are also battling a cough, taking Cold-Flu Recovery with Cough Control can offer robust support to your immune system to help you feel better faster without any dangerous interactions. 

How to Reduce Flu Duration 

When we have the flu, time may feel like it’s at a standstill as our symptoms pile up. So many OTC medicines offer fast relief, but they come at the cost of dangerous side effects and contraindications. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce flu duration gently without harsh, synthetic chemicals. Homeopathic products like Brillia have been clinically proven to shorten the duration of the flu. Even more, the active ingredients may help to minimize the chance of getting a secondary infection, like bronchitis or pneumonia. In addition to taking Brillia Health at the first sign of feeling unwell, always be sure to hydrate, get adequate rest, and plan on scheduling your flu vaccine every year to protect yourself in the future. 

Learn more about staying healthy all year long at the Brillia(nce) Resource Center

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References:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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