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A 63-year-old male asked about a 57-year-old female:

Wife has bad chest cold. coughing yellow phlegm. sore from coughing, lack of sleep. takes citalopram and clonazepam for panic attacks, zyrtec (cetirizine) for allergies. what to take now and when to get help. ?

4 doctor answers12 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jovita Anyanwu
Internal Medicine 31 years experience
Regular medications: Cold symptoms respond to allergy medicine and cough medication will help.She can continue her current meds as prescribed.
Dr. Dale Tylor
ENT - Head & Neck Surgery - Pediatric 20 years experience
Get checked: If otc cough syrup isn't helping, then i would call your primary md or see an urgent care to make sure it isn't a pneumonia, particularly if she is coughing so much that she can't sleep and is having chest pain. Nasal saline and some honey in tea can sometimes help these symptoms until you see the doctor.
Dr. Reid Blackwelder
Family Medicine 38 years experience
Symptomatic care: Most colds go away on their own and do not need medications, even with phlegm. Fluids, rest, tylenol (acetaminophen) for pain can all be helpful. Sometimes antihistamines like zyrtec can make getting secretions loose harder. Some folks feel vitamin c helps, and it likely will not hurt, but no great studies exist. Zinc lozenges may have a role. Get help for worsening shortness of breath, fever, lasts 7-20 days.
Dr. Joram Seggev
Specializes in Internal Medicine - Allergy & Immunology
Still OTC: Yellow sputum means inflammation or most likely an infection caused by viruses, not bacteria. At this point she can try a medication such as guafenesin with dextromorphan (brand name Mucinex (guaifenesin) dm) and drink lots of fluids, particularly tea, if no better in 48-72 hours, needs to see a physician.
Dr. John Chiu
Dr. John Chiu commented
Allergy and Immunology 58 years experience
If the coughing has been going for weeks and is in paroxysms. consider whooping cough as well.
Mar 31, 2014

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