Browsing the aisles at your local pharmacy, you'll find cough suppressants, decongestants, expectorants and fever reducers, but what nonprescription cold medicine will take care of your cold? None, actually. But don't despair: Using them will help reduce your uncomfortable cold symptoms, so it's not a bad idea to pick up an over-the-counter cold reliever or fever reducer.
Be sure to treat only the symptoms you have, though. Many over-the-counter cold and flu medicines contain ingredients to treat a variety of complaints -- probably more than you have -- so be sure to read the labels and choose the option closest to your own symptoms.
Avoid antibiotics, which have become a go-to for many of us when we feel under the weather. Viruses cause colds, and antibiotics won't help against them. However, if your symptoms don't improve after about seven to 10 days, you may have also developed a bacterial infection, such as a sinus infection, and a visit to your doctor is in order.