Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How long is it safe to take cold medication?"
Had a bad cold for around two weeks and I've been taking a cold medication from the drug store everyday. How long is it safe to take cold medication? Can it be bad for your body to just keep taking it?
Colds are very common viral infections that, typically, should be getting better after about 5 to 7 days of the illness. During these 5 to 7 days, it is common to need some over the counter cold medication to help relieve the cough or congestion that comes with the cold. However, if you are still having symptoms after a full two weeks, and requiring medication on a daily basis, then it is definitely time for you to go see your primary care doctor. I am concerned that there may be something else going on other than just the common cold. Your doctor can examine you closely and help determine if you need further treatment. For example, after a cold, it is not uncommon to develop a case of bronchitis or pneumonia, two lung infections. These could lead to continued persistent cough after a cold, and they would need to be treated with antibiotics. Similarly, a cold might evolve into a case of sinus congestion, which could require medications specifically to open up the sinuses and allow them to drain. Occasionally sinus congestion may progress to a sinus infection, which would also require antibiotics. Get in to see your doctor as soon as possible.
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