If a little is good, more is better ... right? That reasoning may hold true for some things -- ice cream comes to mind -- but it's definitely not true when it comes to cold-reduction medication.
It's important to pay close attention to the instructions on the packaging so you can get the relief you need while avoiding an overdose. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's actually pretty easy to get confused when taking medication. If you look at the dosing instructions for some types of cold-reduction medicine, the directions state to take two tablets or caplets every four to six hours. Others, however, indicate that you should take one dose every four to six hours, increasing to two tablets at a time if your symptoms continue. In addition, dosing instructions can change. Always double-check the package before taking the medicine.
Liquid cold-reduction medications should always be taken using the dosage cup provided. If you don't have it, don't just take a swig from the bottle or use a household tablespoon, which won't be accurate. You can buy replacement cups or special medicine spoons (usually plastic with a hollow handle) that are calibrated correctly. Many of these types of medications, like the multisymptom nighttime variety, contain ingredients that can make you sleepy, so getting the dose wrong can be dangerous.