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Treatment of the Common Cold - Article
ABSTRACT: The common cold is a viral illness that affects persons of all ages, prompting frequent use of over-the-counter and prescription medications and alternative remedies. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms (e.g., cough, nasal congestion, rhinorrhea). Dextromethorphan may be beneficial in adults with cough, but its effectiveness has not been demonstrated in children and adolescents. Codeine has not been shown to effectively treat cough caused by the common cold. Although hydrocodone is widely used and has been shown to effectively treat cough caused by other conditions, the drug has not been studied in patients with colds. Topical (intranasal) and oral nasal decongestants have been shown to relieve nasal symptoms and can be used in adolescents and adults for up to three days. Antihistamines and combination antihistamine/decongestant therapies can modestly improve symptoms in adults; however, the benefits must be weighed against potential side effects. Newer nonsedating antihistamines are ineffective against cough. Topical ipratropium, a prescription anticholinergic, relieves nasal symptoms in older children and adults. Antibiotics have not been shown to improve symptoms or shorten illness duration. Complementary and alternative therapies (i.e., Echinacea, vitamin C, and zinc) are not recommended for treating common cold symptoms; however, humidified air and fluid intake may be useful without adverse side effects. Vitamin C prophylaxis may modestly reduce the duration and severity of the common cold in the general population and may reduce the incidence of the illness in persons exposed to physical and environmental stresses.
ABSTRACT: Rhinosinusitis can be divided among four subtypes: acute, recurrent acute, subacute and chronic, based on patient history and a limited physical examination. In most instances, therapy is initiated based on this classification. Antibiotic therapy, supplemented by hydration and decongestants, is indicated for seven to 14 days in patients with acute, recurrent acute or subacute bacterial rhinosinusitis. For patients with chronic disease, the same treatment regimen is indicated for an additional four weeks or more, and a nasal steroid may also be prescribed if inhalant allergies are known or suspected. Nasal endoscopy and computed tomography of the sinuses are reserved for circumstances that include a failure to respond to therapy as expected, spread of infection outside the sinuses, a question of diagnosis and when surgery is being considered. Laboratory tests are infrequently necessary and are reserved for patients with suspected allergies, cystic fibrosis, immune deficiencies, mucociliary disorders and similar disease states. Findings on endoscopically guided microswab culture obtained from the middle meatus correlate 80 to 85 percent of the time with results from the more painful antral puncture technique and is performed in patients who fail to respond to the initial antibiotic selection. Surgery is indicated for extranasal spread of infection, evidence of mucocele or pyocele, fungal sinusitis or obstructive nasal polyposis, and is often performed in patients with recurrent or persistent infection not resolved by drug therapy.
Upper Respiratory Tract Infection - Clinical Evidence Handbook
Decongestants and Antihistamines Do Not Relieve Symptoms of Otitis Media with Effusion - Cochrane for Clinicians
Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis - Article
ABSTRACT: Allergic rhinitis is a common chronic respiratory illness that affects quality of life, productivity, and other comorbid conditions, including asthma. Treatment should be based on the patient’s age and severity of symptoms. Patients should be advised to avoid known allergens and be educated about their condition. Intranasal corticosteroids are the most effective treatment and should be first-line therapy for mild to moderate disease. Moderate to severe disease not responsive to intranasal corticosteroids should be treated with second-line therapies, including antihistamines, decongestants, cromolyn, leukotriene receptor antagonists, and nonpharmacologic therapies (e.g., nasal irrigation). With the exception of cetirizine, second-generation antihistamines are less likely to cause sedation and impair performance. Immunotherapy should be considered in patients with a less than adequate response to usual treatments. Evidence does not support the use of mite-proof impermeable covers, air filtration systems, or delayed exposure to solid foods in infancy.
ABSTRACT: The common cold, or upper respiratory tract infection, is one of the leading reasons for physician visits. Generally caused by viruses, the common cold is treated symptomatically. Antibiotics are not effective in children or adults. In children, there is a potential for harm and no benefits with over-the-counter cough and cold medications; therefore, they should not be used in children younger than four years. Other commonly used medications, such as inhaled corticosteroids, oral prednisolone, and Echinacea, also are ineffective in children. Products that improve symptoms in children include vapor rub, zinc sulfate, Pelargonium sidoides (geranium) extract, and buckwheat honey. Prophylactic probiotics, zinc sulfate, nasal saline irrigation, and the herbal preparation Chizukit reduce the incidence of colds in children. For adults, antihistamines, intranasal corticosteroids, codeine, nasal saline irrigation, Echinacea angustifolia preparations, and steam inhalation are ineffective at relieving cold symptoms. Pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, inhaled ipratropium, and zinc (acetate or gluconate) modestly reduce the severity and duration of symptoms for adults. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and some herbal preparations, including Echinacea purpurea, improve symptoms in adults. Prophylactic use of garlic may decrease the frequency of colds in adults, but has no effect on duration of symptoms. Hand hygiene reduces the spread of viruses that cause cold illnesses. Prophylactic vitamin C modestly reduces cold symptom duration in adults and children.
Pharmacologic Therapy for Eustachian Tube Dysfunction - FPIN's Clinical Inquiries