Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Alcohol Content of Cold Medications

I saw a man yesterday, whom I diagnosed with an acute bacterial sinus infection.  His symptoms were nasal/sinus congestion, clear drainage, sinus headaches, loud coughing and sore throat.  I prescribed an antibiotic and reminded him to use his allergy medications as recommended, not if needed, at this time of the year.  As for his cough, he declined any medications.  He said,"I know just what to take for that...Rock & Rye [Joaquin's brand has 40% = 80 proof] with some lemon juice and honey."  I informed him the higher alcohol content is the reason this seems to work.  (I know I've written about this before.)

I'd like to point out several good sites (1, 2, 3 again) that list the alcohol content of some cough medications.  Use these products with caution, because of their high (25%) alcohol content: Contact Nighttime, Dristan Ultra, and Vicks Nyquil.  Listerine Original contains 26.9% alcohol.  I didn't realize it was so high.  No wonder it cuts through mucus so well.  Personally, The Allergy Dude tries to use Listerine mixed with an equal amount of water to reduce the burning sensation while trying to remove postnasal drip.

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