Treating minor ailments over the counter
By Yap Jian Yik (Provisionally Registered Pharmacist, Caring Pharmacy) | Malaysia | Fri Dec 14, 2018 3:31pm
- Activated Charcoal: Charcoal adsorbs toxins and prevents the gastrointestinal absorption of toxins. NOTE: Do not take any food, medicines and supplements within two hours of activated charcoal ingestion. Activated charcoal might impair the absorption of other medicines and supplements.1
- Dioctahedral Smectite: Dioctahedral Smectite functions as an intestinal adsorbent. NOTE: Similar to activated charcoal, Dioctahedral Smectite is not recommended to be taken with any other medications.2
- Probiotics: Diarrhoea is associated with imbalances of gastrointestinal bacteria flora. Restoring the balance helps in recovering from diarrhoea. Probiotic strains such as L. Rhamnosus are proven to be effective in combating diarrhoea.3
- Oral Rehydration Salt: Dehydration is a major concern of diarrhoea. It is crucial to keep yourself hydrated and supplement the electrolytes that are lost through diarrhoea.
Tips: Be careful with what you eat. Make sure your food is thoroughly cooked! Stay hydrated.
Feeling uncomfortable and bloated half way through the reunion dinner? Digestive enzymes might be exactly what you need when indigestion is holding you back from savouring all the good foods. Indigestion is more common as we age. Our digestive capability declines with age. Supplementing the following digestive enzymes will alleviate symptoms such as bloating, nausea and belching:
- Amylase: Aids in carbohydrate digestion
- Bromelain: Helps with protein digestion
- Protease: Hydrolyses proteins
- Lipase: Hydrolyses lipids
- Invertase: Breaks down sucrose
- Lactase: Aids in lactose digestion. Increases tolerance against dairy products.
- Cellulase: Breaks down cellulose
- Glucoamylase: Cleaves glucose molecules from end polysaccharides
TIP: RESIST! The key to avoiding indigestion is controlling your intake of food. Avoid greasy food.
Cold and Flu
Catching an untimely cold or flu? You may curb the symptoms with the following recommendations:
Fever & Headache
Paracetamol has a good efficacy and safety profile for the treatment of fever and headache.
NSAIDS (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents) such as ibuprofen is effective in combating fever and headache. NSAID allergy and gastric side effects are the major concerns when using this group of medication. Make sure you take NSAIDS after your meal!
Fever Patch: Cool patches may be used to relieve fever symptoms.
Runny & Stuffy Nose
Antihistamines are the mainstay of the treatment of symptoms such as sneezing and runny nose. This group of medication is also effective for allergies and itch.
Decongestants such as pseudoephedrine and oxymetazoline help in relieving blocked nose.
Nasal irrigation is a good non-pharmacological option for the relief of these symptoms.
Menthol and eucalyptus oil inhalation also provide relief to nasal flu symptoms
Ivy Leaf Extract: Ivy Leaf extract soothes the inflammation of the throat.
Mucolytic: Mucolytic such as N-acetylcysteine, ambroxol and carbocysteine breaks up the phlegm. Carbocysteine Lysine Salt is able to regulate mucus secretion and restoring visco-elastic properties of mucus.5,6
Antitussives: Agents such as dextrormethorphan and pholcodine are able to suppress cough. To be used with care in children or patients with bronchitis, emphysema or asthma.7
Lozenges: Lozenges provide soothing relief for the throat. Lozenges are available in different formulations including menthol, vitamin C or even ambroxol (a mucolytic agent).
Anti-inflammatory agents: Anti-inflammatory enzymes such as serratiopeptidase or papain, NSAIDS (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents) such as benzydamine and naproxen are effective to relieve the pain.
Honey: Manuka and Jarrah honey wield good antibacterial properties. Jarrah honey possess potent antimicrobial activity alongside its strong antioxidant properties.8 Honey and propolis spray can be used as another alternative solution to provide an instant relief to sore throat.
Boost your immunity
Anti-oxidants are crucial to boost up your immunity and ease cold and flu symptoms. You may also recover sooner with the help of anti-oxidants. Antioxidants boost the immune system by neutralising harmful free radicals.
- Vitamin C: The commonly go-to-vitamin for cold and flu sufferers. You may refer to this detail guide on choosing the right Vitamin C preparation for you.
- Black Elderberry: Rich in immune supporting flavonoids – anthocyanins, black elderberry serves as an excellent immune-booster. Black Elderberry is able to speed up your recovery and reduces symptoms of cold and flu.9
- Take Plenty of Fruits and Vegetable!
TIP: The best medicine for an episode of cold and flu is rest. Get yourself some quality sleep.
- Charcoal, activated: Indication, Dosage, Side Effect, Precaution | MIMS.com Singapore [Internet]. Mims.com. 2018 [cited 18 November 2018]. Available from: https://www.mims.com/singapore/drug/info/charcoal%2c%20activated/?type=brief&mtype=generic
- Dioctahedral smectite: Indication, Dosage, Side Effect, Precaution | MIMS.com Singapore [Internet]. Mims.com. 2018 [cited 18 November 2018]. Available from: https://www.mims.com/singapore/drug/info/dioctahedral%20smectite/?type=brief&mtype=generic
- Probiotics for Diarrhea [Internet]. WebMD. 2018 [cited 18 November 2018]. Available from: https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/probiotics-diarrhea#1
- Enzylase (Digestive Enzyme With Probiotic). Kuala Lumpur: Attivo Marketing Plt., B-3A-25, Ativo Plaza, No.1, Jalan PJU 9/1. Damansara Avenue, Bandar Sri Damansara; 2018.
- Allegra L, Cordaro C, Grassi C. Prevention of Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Bronchitis with Carbocysteine Lysine Salt Monohydrate: A Multicenter, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Respiration. 1996;63(3):174-180.
- Balsamo R, Lanata L, Egan C. Mucoactive drugs. European Respiratory Review. 2010;19(116):127-133.
- Pholcodine: Indication, Dosage, Side Effect, Precaution | MIMS.com Singapore [Internet]. Mims.com. 2018 [cited 18 November 2018]. Available from: https://www.mims.com/singapore/drug/info/pholcodine/?type=brief&mtype=generic
- The Star. Nature's Liquid Gold. [Internet]. 2017 [cited 18 November 2018];. Available from: https://www.pressreader.com/malaysia/the-star-malaysia-star2/20171128/282123521823906
- What is Sambucol? | Sambucol [Internet]. Sambucol.co.uk. 2018 [cited 18 November 2018]. Available from: https://sambucol.co.uk/what-sambucol
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