The Best Over-the-Counter Flu Medicines

Look for a few simple, inexpensive ingredients

Most cases of the flu do not require visits to the emergency room or even your local doctor. But there are a few OTC flu medicines that can help treat the most common symptoms: fever, headache, sore throat, pain and a cough.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money, and these products can be used for other illnesses, too. These are basic medicines that everyone should have in their medicine cabinet for emergencies.

Choose the right medication for the symptom

Fever reducers

  • Aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen treat fevers. A fever is simply a sign of the body’s defense mechanism in action.
  • Do not give aspirin to infants and/or toddlers.

Pain relievers for headache, sore throat or muscle pain

  • Aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen all treat pain, as well as fever.
  • Acetaminophen works well for headaches, and doesn’t cause stomach discomfort like ibuprofen or aspirin can. 
  • Ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin work best for sore throats or muscle pain.

Cough suppressants

  • Dextromethorphan is the main ingredient in cough suppressants. It works by decreasing the feeling that you need to cough. Be careful as it can cause slight drowsiness, so it’s best to take it before bedtime.

Avoid these ingredients when treating the flu

Flu is a lung virus. If you have a stuffy, runny nose and a sinus headache, it’s more likely a cold or allergy.

You probably won’t need products with:

  • Decongestants, such as phenylephrine, oxymetazoline, or pseudoephedrine
  • Antihistamines (for allergies), such as diphenhydramine, fexofenadine, loratadine, cetirizine or chlorpheniramine
  • Expectorants, cough syrups that work by thinning and loosening the mucus in your airway (a flu cough is usually dry, not goopy); Guaifenesin is the most common expectorant.

Always read the labels, directions provided and consult your physician before taking any medication.

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Being Safe with Social Media

Because of websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, nurses are more connected to the world than ever before. While it is wonderful to be so connected to other nurses around the world, and to keep up with current and former co-workers outside of the workplace, it is imperative that you follow some basic rules to keep your patients and yourself safe at all times.

HIPAA – Be Careful!

This is probably the most important piece of advice. While you may want to share a situation or convey emotions you experienced during a shift to gather support from friends and family, it is essential that you make sure whatever you are sharing does not include ANY patient personal information. This includes patient name, age, gender, diagnosis, etc. If there is any doubt in your mind whether your sharing of information would violate HIPAA, don’t do it, play it safe instead!

Social Media Policies – Check with HR

Most human resource departments have put in place policies to help guide employees in how to act on social media. Obviously these policies will have you avoid any type of HIPAA violation, but they often also address sharing of any information regarding their institution. If you are advertising yourself as an employee of ABC Hospital, its likely they would not want you to share personal pictures or stories that may cause friends, family or the public to have a negative impression of that organization. While your employer is putting in place these policies to protect themselves, they are to protect you just as much.

Stay Private

The best way to protect yourself from negative consequences is to keep your social media profiles set to private, accessible only by family and friends. Many professionals choose to have a separate facebook account for family and friends versus co-workers. Others choose to politely decline friend-requests from any co-workers whatsoever. This choice is obviously very personal and is based upon the culture within your particular organization. 

Stay Positive

This one sounds quite obvious, but avoid bashing your employer openly on social media regardless of whether or not your profiles are set to private. Most institutions frown upon their own employees spreading negativity about their workplace. 

By following these simple guidelines, you can feel better knowing that your social media use won’t cause possible drama at your place of work, or even cause the possible loss of your job.

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Store Brand vs. Name Brand Medicine

Active Ingredients: They are the same!

Brand names and store brands contain the exact same active ingredient. They have the same dosage, strength, safety and performance. In fact, brand name manufacturers make about half of all generic drugs. 

The FDA regulates all over-the-counter drugs.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulates the approval, manufacture and sale of all over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Store brands must go through the same FDA approval process as brand names. They must meet the same safety and effectiveness standards. The FDA requires manufacturing facilities to meet their standards regardless of whether they make store brands or brand names. The FDA even regulates labeling so consumers can use these drugs without the intervention of a healthcare provider. 

Store brands will save you money!

Store brands cost about half the price of brand names. This is mostly due to lower marketing budgets. In a University of Chicago study, most consumers chose store brands across a variety of healthcare categories. The same study found most doctors and pharmacists rely on store brands themselves. 

Next time you find yourself looking in the OTC medicine aisle, grab a store brand and save some money. If you have any confusion or questions, simply ask your pharmacist.

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Covid-19, Daily Challenges for Nurses

Daily challenges of registered nurses have changed in many ways since the coronavirus pandemic has swept across the world. 

Managing PPE

Major changes in how to handle mask usage and the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) has been an ongoing issue – which continues to change at a rapid pace.

At first, everybody was to wear a mask when you were in the hospital inpatient settings, then there was a shift towards sewn masks in order to save on surgical masks.

UV light has been used to sanitize N95 respirator masks so they can be used for days instead of just one use. That same UV light can be used to sanitize rooms to ensure no new coronavirus will be on surfaces throughout the room before switching to a new patient.

As the pandemic has continued over time, masks and gloves have become increasingly available, but still remain a concern for nurses.

Nursing Shifts

Many facilities have adjusted nurse shifts to be helping hands in the intensive care unit (ICU) to assist with severely ill patients, including performing activities such as assisting with teeth brushing, face washing, and baths.

Nurse Fears

Increased communication is essential. Many nurses are struggling with their own fears in dealing with patients during this pandemic. At the same time they need to encourage family members of patients to stay home to help avoid further potential exposure, as well as ease their fears and keep them updated on their loved ones.

The Front Line

In the end, we all need to remember that nurses are on the front lines of this tragic pandemic. While we rely on their services and support, they still need ours!

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