Against pain and fever
The active ingredients ibuprofen, paracetamol, acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) and diclofenac relieve mild to moderate pain and reduce fever. ASA, diclofenac, ibuprofen and naproxen can be used to treat headaches, joint pain, menstrual pain and toothache.
Ibuprofen and paracetamol are already suitable for children under the age of two – dosed appropriately for their age. There are special children’s preparations, including juices and suppositories.
Tipp: In order to avoid side effects, the dosage recommendations according to the package insert must be observed. Paracetamol, for example, can damage the liver if overdosed.
For wound disinfection and healing
Disinfectants kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses that can cause inflammation. If the wound has been rinsed off with clean, lukewarm water, a single disinfection immediately after the injury is usually sufficient.
Suitable skin disinfectants are the alcohols ethanol and isopropanol. The active ingredients povidone iodine and octenidine/phenoxyethanol are good for children, for example – they don’t burn as badly. However, the use of povidone-iodine should be avoided in infants.
Wounds often heal on their own. The process can sometimes be supported, for example with creams and ointments with dexpanthenol or zinc oxide, which are applied to sore skin, superficial abrasions or the edges of open wounds.
Sprays or drops with decongestants such as xylometazoline or oxymetazoline clear the nose. Preparations without preservatives are particularly recommended. The addition of dexpanthenol can support the care of the nasal mucosa, especially if it is very sensitive or easily inflamed.
Children under the age of six need lower-dosed preparations corresponding to their age. In newborns and infants with a cold, saline solutions are generally to be preferred.
Tipp: Do not use more than three times a day and for more than 5 to 7 days, otherwise the nasal mucosa will get used to it and will swell again when you stop (use nose drops correctly).
Against cough irritation
The active ingredient dextromethorphan is suitable for dampening a dry, dry cough – for example to sleep better at night. Only take a few days without a doctor. Some low-dose preparations can already be given to school children.
As soon as a cough becomes mucous, it makes sense to support coughing up, for example with tea or inhalation. Cough suppressants are also widely used, for example with ambroxol, acetylcysteine, ivy or thyme in adult and child doses. Their effectiveness should be better documented. Therefore, our experts only rate them as suitable with restrictions. Children under the age of two should not take cough suppressants.
Against sore throat
If you have a sore throat, you need a lot of saliva. It moistens the mucous membrane of the throat, which makes swallowing easier. It also contains antibodies against cold pathogens. The flow of saliva can be stimulated, for example, by throat drops or cough drops or by pastilles with Emser salt.
No matter which means of sucking is chosen – it should be sugar-free. Some sore throat tablets contain anesthetics, painkillers or disinfectants such as lidocaine or ambroxol. We rate these as suitable with restrictions: The effectiveness should be better documented.
Electrolyte mixtures are dissolved in water and replace substances that are lost in diarrhea. This is important, otherwise patients can become dehydrated. Children and the elderly are particularly at risk. In case of additional vomiting, it is best to swallow often, but only spoonfuls.
A drug with loperamide is also conceivable. The active ingredient calms the intestines and can help with severe, spasmodic diarrhea. Take a maximum of two days without a doctor and for children under the age of 12 only after consultation with a doctor. In principle, children under the age of two should not be given loperamide.