Management of Cough and Cold

Effective Management of Cough and Cold: Medications and Doses


Cough and cold are common ailments that often affect both young and pediatric populations. While these conditions are usually self-limiting and resolve within a few days, symptomatic relief can greatly benefit patients. This article provides a comprehensive guide on cough and cold medications, including their recommended doses, to alleviate discomfort and promote recovery.

Cough and cold is a very common presentation in general practice. It is common in the young population and pediatric population. Most commonly it is due to a viral upper respiratory tract infection. Common etiology is viral in origin. Sometimes can co-exist with a secondary bacterial infection.

During the management of these patients actually, no medication is needed. Because it will self-limit within 3 days. But symptomatic relief will be beneficial for the patient.

Management of cough and cold

Usually, the patient’s main complaint is a cough. A cough means bronchial irritation is happening. To prevent that bronchodilators can be prescribed. For adults, salbutamol oral tablets of 4mg three times daily can be given. Or theophylline oral tablets 250mg two times daily can be given. But the common side effect of the above drugs is tremors. In young patients, it is difficult to involve in their day-to-day activities especially if they are writing. And also theophylline has a narrow therapeutic index.

Because of that deriphyllin can be used. Also, oral tablets of 150mg two times daily can be given.

If the patient has yellow color sputum or any other investigations suggestive of bacterial etiology antibiotics can be given. It is most commonly gram-positive bacteria. For that Penicillin is more than enough. Amoxicillin oral capsules 500mg three times daily can be given. Doses are given in the context only for completeness. Please go through the latest version of the British national formulary or any other recommended text according to your country and according to your unit Policy.

If the patient has fever oral paracetamol tablets of 1 gram 8 hourly or 6 hourly can be given. If it is not settled with paracetamol don’t increase the dose please contact your healthcare provider.

Antihistamine drug can be added to this prescription.

In this condition, non-pharmacological management is very important. First, this is patient education. If it is a child parental education is very important. It is also an important part of the management of cough and cold.


Cough and cold are common conditions, primarily caused by viral upper respiratory tract infections. While these ailments typically resolve on their own within three days, symptomatic relief can greatly benefit patients. Cough is a common complaint, indicating bronchial irritation, for which bronchodilators like salbutamol or theophylline can be prescribed during the management of cough and cold. However, these medications may cause side effects such as tremors, especially in young patients. Deriphyllin, with a lower risk of side effects, can be an alternative. In cases where yellow sputum or other signs suggest a bacterial infection, antibiotics like penicillin or amoxicillin may be necessary. Fever can be managed with oral paracetamol, but if it persists, consulting a healthcare provider is recommended. Additionally, antihistamines may be included in the prescription. Non-pharmacological approaches, including patient and parental education, are crucial in managing these conditions effectively.


Cough and cold are typically self-limiting conditions that resolve within a few days. While medication is not always necessary, providing symptomatic relief can improve the patient’s comfort. Bronchodilators help alleviate cough-related bronchial irritation, and deriphyllin can be a suitable option with fewer side effects. Antibiotics may be required in cases of suspected bacterial infection, while paracetamol effectively manages fever. Antihistamines can be added to the treatment regimen as needed. Alongside medication, non-pharmacological management, such as patient education, plays a vital role in the overall management of cough and cold. By following proper guidance and seeking professional advice, individuals can navigate these common ailments with greater ease and comfort.

Common questions asked by patients.

What causes cough and cold?

Cough and cold are primarily caused by viral infections, such as the common cold or influenza. These viruses are easily spread through respiratory droplets from infected individuals.

How long does a cough and cold typically last?

Cough and cold symptoms usually resolve within 1 to 2 weeks. However, some symptoms like cough or nasal congestion may persist for a longer duration. During the management of cough and cold reducing complications, symptom management and reduce the duration of symptoms.

What are the common symptoms of cough and cold?

Common symptoms include a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, sneezing, mild headache, mild body aches, and low-grade fever. During the management of cough and cold all the symptoms should management.

How can I prevent getting a cough and cold?

Management of cough and cold will include prevention. To reduce the risk of getting a cough and cold, it is important to practice good hygiene, such as frequent handwashing, avoiding close contact with infected individuals, and covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

What over-the-counter medications can help relieve cough and cold symptoms?

Over-the-counter medications like decongestants, cough suppressants, expectorants, and pain relievers can provide relief from cough and cold symptoms. It is important to read and follow the instructions on the packaging and consult a pharmacist if needed.

When should I see a doctor for my cough and cold?

You should consider seeing a doctor if your symptoms worsen or persist for more than 10 days, if you experience severe symptoms, have difficulty breathing, or if you have underlying health conditions that may increase the risk of complications.

Can cough and cold be treated with home remedies?

Yes, several home remedies can help alleviate cough and cold symptoms. These include staying hydrated, getting plenty of rest, using saline nasal sprays or rinses, using a humidifier, gargling with warm saltwater, and drinking warm fluids like herbal tea or broth.

Are there any natural remedies that can help alleviate cough and cold symptoms?

Natural remedies like honey, ginger, garlic, steam inhalation, and herbal teas with ingredients like chamomile, peppermint, or echinacea may provide relief from cough and cold symptoms. However, it’s important to note that natural remedies may not have scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness.

Can antibiotics treat cough and cold?

No, antibiotics are not effective against viral infections like the common cold. Antibiotics are only useful in treating bacterial infections, which may occur as a secondary infection during a cold.

Is it safe to take cough and cold medications while pregnant or breastfeeding?

It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any medication during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Some medications may not be safe during these periods, and the healthcare provider can recommend appropriate options.

Can cough and cold be contagious?

Yes, cough and cold can be contagious. They are often caused by viruses that can easily spread from person to person through respiratory droplets when an infected individual coughs, sneezes, or talks. Close contact with an infected person or touching surfaces contaminated with the virus can also lead to transmission. Taking precautions such as practicing good hand hygiene, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and avoiding close contact with sick individuals can help reduce the risk of spreading cough and cold.

How can I soothe a sore throat caused by cough and cold?

To soothe a sore throat caused by a cough and cold, you can try the following remedies:

  • Gargle with warm saltwater: Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and gargle several times a day to reduce throat inflammation.
  • Drink warm liquids: Sip on warm herbal tea, broth, or warm water with honey and lemon to help soothe the throat.
  • Use throat lozenges or sprays: Over-the-counter throat lozenges or sprays can provide temporary relief by numbing the throat.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids to keep the throat moist and prevent further irritation.

Are there any specific precautions I should take to prevent spreading cough and cold to others?

To prevent spreading cough and cold to others, follow these precautions:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing to minimize the release of respiratory droplets.
  • Dispose of used tissues properly and wash your hands afterward.
  • Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • Avoid close contact with others, especially if you have symptoms of cough and cold.
  • Stay home when you are sick to prevent spreading the infection to others.

Can cough and cold lead to complications or other respiratory conditions?

In some cases, cough and cold can lead to complications or develop into other respiratory conditions. These can include sinus infections, ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, or exacerbation of underlying respiratory conditions such as asthma. It is important to monitor your symptoms and seek medical attention if your condition worsens or if you experience severe symptoms.

Are there any specific dietary recommendations to follow during a cough and cold?

There are no specific dietary recommendations for cough and cold. However, it is important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet to support your immune system. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, including water, herbal teas, and soups. Consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and antioxidants can also be beneficial for overall health. Additionally, warm liquids like herbal teas or warm water with honey and lemon can help soothe the throat and provide relief. If you have specific dietary concerns or restrictions, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian.

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