Winter wouldn’t be winter without shivering arms and sniffling noses. Indeed, the cold and flu season is upon us, and we have only our local pharmacy to help us withstand the tribulation of the common cold.

“Seinfeld” had a great bit about how hard it is to find the right cold medicine. “Did you ever try and pick one of these out?” Jerry asked. “It’s not easy… this is quick acting, but this is long-lasting. When do I need to feel good — now or later?”

Too often, people self-medicate and over-medicate when seeking relief from a crippling cold. It’s easy to think, “Hey, it’s over-the-counter… how harmful can it be?”

Used improperly, though, cold medications carry real dangers.

The Surprising Dangers of Cold Medications

Using too many cold medications — or using even one improperly — can cause a number of health complications, including:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Increased heart rate
  • Heightened blood pressure
  • Agitation
  • Rise in body temperature
  • Dangerous changes in your body’s acid levels
  • Respiratory problems
  • Decreased oxygen to the brain
  • Liver, kidney, or other organ damage
  • Impairment
  • Reduced motor function
  • Numbness
  • Psychoactive symptoms
  • Unsuitability for driving
  • Overdose
  • Death (in extreme cases).

Cold Medications Often Abused

To give you an idea of just how serious cold medication errors can become, consider that they rank among the most commonly abused recreational drugs in the country.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse warns that cold medications, when used in excess or combined with other drugs (like alcohol or marijuana), can have sedative, euphoric, dissociative, psychoactive, and addictive effects on the body.

When misused, these seemingly simple medicines can cause brain damage, car accidents, or even death.

Treat Colds Modestly and Safely

Catching the cold might seem inevitable this winter season, but remember that when it comes to medication, a little goes a long way.

If you’re suffering because of a medication mistake, or if you’ve been injured in an auto accident in which someone was under the influence of impairing medications, please get in touch with our office.

We hope you’ll all stay safe, warm, and in good spirits in the weeks and months to come!