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Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are not designed to cure an illness. Instead, they have been precisely formulated to attack symptoms and potentially shorten the period of time a patient feels sick. However, not all medicines have the same ingredients, which means the ways those medicines treat the body, and which symptoms they alleviate, will vary drastically. That is why consumer education is essential for a successful trip into the pharmaceutical aisle!

In order to get effective results from OTC medicine, it is important to know your symptoms and understand which ingredients best target them specifically.

Allergies, sinus infections, and coughs, colds, and flu all produce similar symptoms causing most people to confuse the various types. For example, a stuffy nose, runny eyes, and other symptoms may indicate a cold—but it could also mean a sinus infection.  Thankfully, there certain key indicators to help differentiate the symptoms and decide which medicine may be best.

Ask yourself which column represents most of your symptoms:


Cough, Cough, & Flu                             Sinus Infection                                  Allergies 

Sore Throat                                              Fever                                                   Skin Rash

Cough                                                      Face Pain & Pressure                         Headache

Headache                                                Body Aching                                        Sneezing

Stuffy Nose                                              Aching Head                                        Runny Nose

Mucus Buildup                                         Excess Greenish, Yellow Mucus         Swelling

Sneezing                                                 Stuffy Nose                                           Nausea

Fatigue                                                     Halitosis                                               Diarrhea

Swollen Sinuses                                      Cough-producing phlegm                    Anaphylaxix


Once the problem is correctly identified (you may want to confirm this with a physician or health specialist), the next step is to understand which ingredients in OTC remedies target those specific symptoms.

Antihistamines are commonly considered the most efficient active ingredient to treat allergies. Essentially, this ingredient fights the body’s reaction to an allergen by calming the histamines, which have been sent out to attack the body’s ‘intruder’. Antihistamines are designed to combat the histamine your body produces and, therefore, calm the symptoms and body’s overall reaction, according to Healthline’s “Antihistamines for Allergies”. While nasal sprays are considered potent and effective ways to treat allergy symptoms, experts warn that those products can take a while before they begin to remedy the body’s reaction to an allergen. According to WebMD, if someone is experiencing drainage (runny nose, postnasal drip or itchy, watery eyes), using a product with an antihistamine medicine can thicken mucus and ultimately reduce drainage. However, if you are experiencing nasal or sinus congestion, solely taking an antihistamine medication will not completely treat all of the symptoms.  Taking a decongestant is imperative in this case and will help to shrink the swollen blood vessels and tissues in the nose, relieving nasal congestion.

A sinus infection, or sinusitis, can be an uncomfortable combination of congestion and fluids mixed together. Sinusitis is caused by the frontal sinuses located on the forehead, behind the cheekbones, between the eyes, and behind the eyes, becoming blocked and filled with fluid and germs. That blockage and fluid buildup lead to infection, and ultimately, an increased amount of discomfort and pain. While antibiotics can be prescribed to treat the bacteria that lead to a sinus infection, over-the-counter medicines can also provide powerful forms of relief. Decongestants are an important component to any sinus treatment, as they will work to break up all of the congestion and stuffiness associated with mucus-related symptoms. Expectorants can also be used alongside a decongestant, as it will bring up mucus and other material from the lungs, bronchi and trachea to begin the clearing process. In simple terms, an expectorant can help to thin mucus, especially if it has settled in the chest or throat. Lastly, the inflammation of the sinuses can lead to intense pain in the face, head and/or throughout the body, so using a sinus medication with a pain reliever can result in a much better outcome.

In fact, a pain reliever can also be essential in a cold medicine as it can help to reduce a fever or treat overall body aches and inflammation. Cough, cold and flu ingredients mirror that of sinus treatments because the pain points and symptoms are so similar. A decongestant can help to treat a cough by shrinking swollen nasal tissue and reducing overall mucus production and build up. A cough suppressant is also an integral component of a cough, cold, and flu medication as it will enable a patient to have a restful day instead of being plagued by constant coughing fits. If a cough is thick with phlegm, an expectorant can help to clear that out, making the cough less cumbersome on the body.

By identifying an illness, anyone can determine which medicine and which ingredients will work best for him or her. DayClear products have been precisely formulated to effectively target and treat specific symptoms that come with each condition. To see which DayClear product is right for you, navigate to the Products page.

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