How To Read the Label on Your Cold Medicine

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications are any drugs that can be purchased at a store or pharmacy without a prescription from a doctor. Pain relievers, allergy medications, and cough and cold medicines are all examples of OTC medications.

Drug information labels are included on the container of every cold medication just like pieces of manufacturing equipment from vendors like BEE International always come with operating instructions. These labels contain vital information: It explains what the drug does, how to properly take it, and who should and should not use it.

Before purchasing or taking any medication for your cold, it's essential to read the label.

Reading the Drug Facts Label

All drug facts labels contain the same sections, such as dosage and active ingredients. Below you’ll get a simple yet in-depth look at how to read each out of these areas.

Active Ingredients

The chemical element in the drug that acts to ease symptoms is known as the active ingredient. It's the very first item on the label. A product may have more than one active ingredient.


The term "uses" refers to the reasons why you should take the drug. The symptoms that the drug is supposed to relieve are frequently listed on the label. This section is also known as “suggestions.”

Medications can have a wide range of uses. For example, most cold medicines can help a stuffy nose, scratchy throat, and much more.


The drug's possible side effects are listed in the “warnings” section of the safety information. This section contains a list of drugs, foods, and circumstances that should be avoided when using the medication.

For example, you might need to avoid consuming alcohol or driving a car. Warnings also state whether you should see a doctor before using the medication.


This section explains how much and how often you should take your medicine. It may list whether it should be taken with food or what time of day it should be consumed. It's common for adults and children to take a different dose.

The frequency you should take a dose is in this section as well. For liquid medications, make sure you use a suitable measurement instrument such as a measuring spoon, syringe, or cup.

Inactive Ingredients

Any ingredient in the drug that isn't supposed to treat a symptom is considered an inactive ingredient. Additives, binding agents, and added coloring are some examples.

People who are allergic to food coloring or other substances should read this section and talk with their doctor before consuming the cold medicine.

Questions or Comments

A toll-free phone number for the manufacturer is included with all OTC drugs. If you have any concerns or wish to express your thoughts on the drug, you can phone this number. If you have any serious issues, call 911 immediately.

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