Over the Counter

This is a sponsored post.

These last few days Tori’s been exhibiting some of the first signs of a fall cold, including sneezing and lightly coughing. I feel blessed that with Tori’s new school we’ve already seen about a third of the school-related viruses already (this time last year she’d been sick three times already) because of the much smaller class size (I think, anyway) so that’s been great.

But now I feel like I’m catching a cold too. Not so great.

I’m a big believer in taking medications when I have a cold. It drives me nuts when I see reports on the local or national news that says, “Take medications doesn’t shorten the duration of a cold…” because, well, DUH – does anyone really believe that taking something for your cold is going to make the cold go away? Viruses just have to do their thing and go, no hurrying it up available (although you know, of course, that rest and fluids will at least keep it from hanging on LONGER).

But taking cold meds when you’re sick MAKES COLDS SUCK LESS WHILE THEY ARE HAPPENING. Sure you’re only treating the symptoms but I have the choice to stop endlessly sneezing so I can sleep, hell yeah I’m taking a medication for it.

So I’m ready to stock up on our supplies for the cold season, and since you all already know I’ve been partnered with Walgreens for a bit, you know I’ll be going there to get my favorite stuff – with my Balance Rewards card in hand, of course.

I’m a big believer in getting store-brand stuff rather than buying name brand. It’s just the smart (and frugal) thing to do, and in all my years of using store-brand stuff I’ve never seen any difference in the results. So here are a few of the things I plan to get for my cold.

Obviously, you need to take tons of Vitamin C when you get a cold. My mother ingrained this in me since I was tiny. Sometimes when I’m at the point of a cold where I can’t taste or smell anything I’ll actually suck on the Vitamin C pills just for the sourness of it all.


Couldn’t find a picture of the Walgreens version of this, but this is my absolute favorite cold medicine. I just love the fizz, and it works super fast.

This is the bronchitis-prone person’s best friend.

Even though it annoys the living crap out of me that I have to get my driver’s license scanned to buy this shit, I do it anyway, because there is NOTHING better for bad nasal congestion.

I don’t care if it eats a hole in your nose. WHATEVER! When I can no longer take being unable to breathe out of my nose, this becomes critical. (Also, I’ll confess – I’ve used a diluted saline version (10:1) for Tori when it’s really bad, and it’s been a lifesaver).


So, what’s your favorite cold season rescue med? I’ll take any and all suggestions (achoo!).


I was compensated for this post, but it’s all true! I swear!

Comments Closed


  1. says

    Agreed, some of the meds just make life more bearable while you battle the cold. I have high blood pressure so I am very limited, I take Coricidin HBP which is safe for me.

    Pick up some chicken noodle soup and a box of Kleenex with lotion while you are at Walgreens to help you thru your cold.

  2. says

    I stopped ingesting caffeine (except what naturally occurs in chocolate because…come on!) a long time ago so I can’t take most cold medicines. They have uppers or downers in them that take me so far up or so far down that I’m impossible to deal with. Back in the day, though, when Theraflu first came out, I fell in love. It tastes like brewed, lemon asshole but it makes everything better. SO MUCH BETTER. I saw someone tweet about their love of it recently and I actually thought, “I miss Theraflu.”

    • says

      Another vote for Theraflu here (or the store-brand version, whatever it’s called). I didn’t know there was caffeine in it — and I’m a label-reader. I’m sensitive to caffeine, so a little goes a long way, and when I’m sick enough for Theraflu, I want to sleep, not stay awake!

      (stop reading now, Cecily)

      Sometimes I would add a shot of whisky or Southern Comfort to it.

  3. says

    I tend to zinc up at the first sign (if I’m willing to admit I’m getting sick). When my whole head is sticky I like Musinex / neti pot combo – when I take too many things that dry me out my teeth hurt like I have a sinus infection.

  4. says

    I think I have a bunch of latent Christian Science stuff from my mom’s side of the family floating around in my genes because I try really hard not to take any medicine if I can avoid it. Hot chicken soup, hot showers, lots of curling up under the covers with a Netflix marathon of some kind or other, and that’s how I get through a cold.

  5. Michelle says

    Zinc really does shorten the duration of a cold! Really! I use the Zicam spray, it tastes gross and kind of numbs your mouth for a while, but use it at the very first symptoms, continue every couple hours for a few days. I swear I haven’t had a real cold in years from doing that.
    And you are right, when you are really stuffy nothing works better than Afrin type spray. But google “Afrin addiciton”, I had it happen to me. The cure is to wean yourself off it by diluting it more and more with saline spray.

  6. Holly says

    We use Vick vapo rub. On our chests, on our feet, under our nose or on our shirt so to breathe. I love the breathe right strips, and hate them, in equal measure. They work, but are so not comfortable. We use neti pots, tons of vit c and/or emergency. I am still breast feeding so fancy afrin nasal sprays and pseudo fun stuffs are off the list.

  7. wyogirl says

    Eucalyptus oil in a cast iron pot on the woodstove. Gets the head clear in a hurry! Echinacea during cold season to strengthen the immune system. Lots of organic, clean eating, lots of rest. I almost never take meds. I’ll use Vicks Vapo-rub. Put it on your feet when you go to bed. It really works.

  8. says

    I swear by hot drinks. The warmth soothes my scratchy/sore throat and the steam loosens up stuffed nasal passages. Also, you can get teas that are chock full of vitamin C (like rose hips). Vitamin tablets make me feel nauseous (some people don’t take well to the binders and etc in vitamin tablets). If I have a fever, body aches, etc I swear by Theraflu, or the store brand…it is very tart. I take various ‘dry up your snot so you can breathe already’ drugs when too stuffy to sleep and an over the counter sleep aid (Theraflu has one in it which knocks me right the Hell out) because when you’re sick you have to sleep to get better. And of course, chicken noodle soup :)

  9. Tine says

    I avoid the decongestants…they just make me feel loopy and keep me from sleeping. I’ll take ibuprofen if I’m achy, but otherwise I go med-less. I cram the vitamin C & zinc. And I sip tons of tea and soup.

  10. says

    I used to take cold medications when I had a cold and they worked really well at relieving the symptoms for me. Somewhere around the time I turned 35, they stopped worked and just made me wired, even the heavy duty coma-inducing stuff. Now, when I feel one coming on, I try to drink as much water, clear tea and diluted orange juice as I can. Oh and soup, we have a GREAT pho place in our neighbourhood. I also try to sleep as much as possible, if I have a headache, I’ll take ibuprofen. Rest is the big thing for me, if I don’t rest, the cold will get into my chest and I’m also a bronchitis prone girl. This has worked for me the past few years, I haven’t had bronchitis or pneumonia in 3 or 4 years now.

    Best of luck to both of you, hopefully whatever bug you’re battling will go away quickly!

  11. says

    Another thing that seems to work miracles, not sure if Walgreens sells it but my local Kroger does, is Oil of Oregano. I buy it in capsules so I don’t have to taste it (I’ve heard it taste bad, but you only need a few drops at a time, so can be masked in OJ). It is not the same thing as oregano, but it smells something like it. OoO is a great natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial that can zap an infection.

  12. Kristin says

    When I lived in Philly, our go-to home remedy for colds was the hot and sour soup from the Le-Anh food truck on the UPenn campus. I’m telling you, that stuff cures everything, and it’s delicious besides. Not to mention cheap. If they’re still there (36th and Spruce, near Williams Hall, across from the quad that’s really a triangle whose name escapes me), and you’re in the neighborhood, check it out.

    I’ve never been able to find hot and sour soup since then that’s sufficiently hot or sour, so I have to rely on Advil and Sudafed when I’m stuffy.

  13. says

    Just a suggestion, during the winter months you guys may want to consider using elderberry syrup daily. It’s good for keeping the immune system healthy and helps minimize colds when they do strike.

  14. Kristin says

    This is completely anecdotal, and I admit that it could also just be a raging case of the placebo effect…but I’d swear that those Airborne chewable tablets help fend off a cold that’s thinking of pouncing on you, if you can get the jump on it. Of course, I have no “Control Group” of Me to scientifically prove that I wouldn’t have managed to avoid the cold on my own without paying for a bottle of fruity tablets. But it’s been my experience that when I feel a cold coming on, and really can’t afford to get sick RIGHT NOW (bad time to call in sick at work, or something I need to sing in church or concert), I’ve managed to hold it off and maybe even avoid it altogether.