Dr. Phil Mohler

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November 20, 2012
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MOHLER: The all-too-common cold

Suffering poet Ogden Nash in response to his physician:

"I did not call you to be told

My malady is a common cold."

Colds happen two or three times a year for most adults, and more often if you spend time with kids. Colds tend to hang around for 10-14 days in spite of the billions of health care dollars that are spent on them annually. Mr. Nash correctly implies that there is a better way to spend a morning than to visit your physician with your lousy cold.

• Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) for headache or other discomforts.

• A humidifier or vaporizer in your bedroom will help your stuffy, plugged-up nose.

• Over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines and decongestants are modestly helpful for sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes, but keep in mind these products are associated with lots of side effects.

• Lemon and honey teas work as well as dextromethorphan and other OTC medications for coughs.

• Lemon/honey throat lozenges and salt water gargles help sore throats.

Avoid these treatments that do not work.

• Antibiotics - Save them for serious bacterial illnesses.

• Airborne - This vitamin boondoggle will only give you expensive urine and a dent in your pocketbook!

• Vitamin C - It does prevent scurvy, but has no effect on cold symptoms.

• Nasal zinc - It is not effective and can result in permanent loss of sense of smell.

Dr. Mohler has practiced family medicine in Grand Junction for 38 years. He has a particular interest in pharmaceutical education. Phil works part-time for both Primary Care Partners and Rocky Mountain Health Plans.

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The Post Independent Updated Nov 20, 2012 02:31PM Published Nov 20, 2012 02:30PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.