Over the Counter

Over the Counter Products
Over the Counter

Over-the-counter (OTC) remedies make it possible to treat many minor health ailments at home. These medicines are available without a prescription. So you can stock up before you need them and have them handy for when the need arises. A well-stocked medicine cabinet or first aid kit should include medicines from these categories of OTC drugs.

Antifungal creams, powders, and lotions contain ingredients that can help ease the itch and other symptoms associated with fungal infections such as athlete's foot, jock itch, and ringworm. Some may also help relieve insect bites, psoriasis, eczema or seborrheic dermatitis, and other skin irritation. These products contain active ingredients such as hydrocortisone to reduce inflammation plus clotrimazole or other antifungals. You apply them topically, directly to the irritated area.

Cough & Cold
Cough, congestion, sore throat, and other symptoms with the common cold and other minor viruses aren't serious but can be uncomfortable. While colds seem more frequent during the winter months, they can occur any time of year. So, it's a good idea to have products such as cough syrup, lozenges, sore throat spray, and mucus relief tablets handy year-round.

Ear & Eye Care
Ears and eyes are vulnerable to irritation and inflammation. Ear wax buildup can make ears feel clogged or even can lead to infections. Ear wax remover drops or ear wash systems can help soften, loosen and remove ear wax. In addition, eye drops can ease redness and irritation in the eyes due to allergies, dryness, dust, or other irritants.

Laxatives, stool softeners, suppositories, and fiber supplements help ease constipation and encourage more regular bowel movements. The type of product to use generally depends on the severity of symptoms.

Oral laxatives may be in pill, liquid, or powder that you can stir into water or another beverage. The design provides occasional relief of mild symptoms.

Suppositories are more fast-acting and may be more appropriate for more serious symptoms. If constipation is an ongoing issue, your doctor may recommend taking a fiber supplement regularly to help encourage healthy digestion.

Pain Relief
Headaches, backaches, sprains and strains, toothaches, and fevers can strike unexpectedly. So it's always a good idea to have a supply of oral pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, or acetaminophen. These medications can help ease minor aches, pains, and fevers.

It can be helpful to stock up on topical pain relief agents, as well. These include pain-relief creams, gels, sprays, and patches that you can apply directly to an area that feels sore, such as a backache or muscle strain, to get fast relief.

As you stock your medicine cabinet, it's important to remember that over-the-counter medicines can sometimes have interactions with other drugs, and some may not be right for people with certain health conditions. Talk with your healthcare provider about all medications you take, including OTC remedies and even supplements. Follow dosing instructions carefully and take medications only as directed.