Episode 21

Published on:

18th Oct 2022

What Cold Medicine Should I Use? (with Greg Castelli, PharmD)

It’s fall! This means a few things. Not only are the leaves changing color and nearly everything is flavored with pumpkin spice, but cold and flu season is also officially in full swing.

If you find that you’ve got an aching head, a runny nose, or a scratchy throat, you’re not alone. You’re going to need something to make you feel better, but the cold and flu aisle can be so intimidating. What are all these pills, syrups, and herbal elixirs? Which one will effectively alleviate your symptoms?

Before you grab the first thing you recognize from a TV commercial and end up feeling dissatisfied with the results or suffering from some undesirable side effects, it might be useful to draw on the expertise of a Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist like Greg Castelli.

Today, we ask Greg, a real-life clinical pharmacist, which cold medicine is best. He shares his take on intranasal sprays, cough syrups, home remedies, and more. We also discuss whether or not brand-name drugs are better, what contraindications to look out for, and how to go about caring for your kids when they’ve got a case of the sniffles.

Hopefully, by the end of this episode, you’ll have a much better idea of which remedy to reach for the next time you’re feeling under the weather!

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Letting your symptoms (and your pharmacist) lead you
  • Nasal sprays and how to use them
  • Brand names vs. generic drugs
  • When you should and shouldn’t take Sudafed
  • Antihistamines for nasal congestion
  • Why you should only take the products that you need
  • Your guide to cough medications
  • The importance of managing your expectations of recovery
  • Symptoms of cough medicine and DXM (dextromethorphan) abuse
  • Common antipyretics used to treat fever and inflammation
  • Recommendations for treating your kids when they are sick
  • Home remedies: from honey to humidifiers
  • Tips for topical treatments like Vicks VapoRub
  • A look at the pros and cons of herbal remedies and vitamins
  • How pregnant women can feel better without harming the baby
  • Greg’s Halloween plans, weird questions he gets as a pharmacist, and more!

Connect with Greg Castelli, learn more about the Family Medicine Residency Program at St. Margaret’s, or watch the St. Margaret Files on YouTube.

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(Disclaimer: we will not answer specific medical questions or offer medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional with any and all personal health questions.)

Connect with us:

@JeremyAllandMD (IG, FB, Twitter)

@JuliaBrueneMD (IG)

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About the Podcast

Your Doctor Friends
The show that teaches you to sniff out the garbage and answers all the questions you wish you could call or text your doctor friend. Don't get caught in endless web search spirals and stop scouring social media for health answers. Let us be your doctor friends!

About your hosts

Jeremy Alland

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Dr. Jeremy Alland is a sports medicine physician at Midwest Orthopaedics at RUSH, a renowned, consistently top-10 nationally-ranked orthopedic practice in Chicago, IL. In addition to a busy clinical practice, he serves as the head primary care team physician for the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Dogs, as well as a team physician for the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Fire Soccer Club. An avid athlete, Dr. Alland played collegiate baseball for DePauw University before pursuing medicine and enjoys golfing, basketball and stand-up paddleboarding. He lives in a suburb of Chicago with his wife, Katie, two children, Olive and Logan, and their goldendoodle, Archie. He never thought he would have a podcast, but has found it insanely fun and is excited to bring fun and approachability to the most common questions we hear as doctors.

"Work Hard + be kind" -The Alland Kitchen Wall

Julie Bruene

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Dr. Julie (Julia if we’re being formal, Julia Rose if she’s in trouble) Bruene is a sports medicine physician at Midwest Orthopaedics at RUSH, a renowned, nationally-ranked orthopedic practice in Chicago. She serves as a team physician for the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bulls, and DePaul University. Aside from her obvious interests in sports and medicine, she is a true crime obsessive and is a total sucker for rescued cats. She lives in Chicago with her husband and partner-in-crime, Adam, and with several of the aforementioned rescued cats. We don’t need to get into specifics about the exact number here. She likes when people are kind to one another and when animals dress up like other animals. Rock over London, rock on Chicago.