Being able to buy some medications over the counter can be very useful. It saves you time and money when your symptoms aren’t severe enough to see a doctor. You might already know what the problem is and know how to treat it from experience. Perhaps you only have a minor complaint that doesn’t warrant a trip to see a doctor. There are lots of medicines you can pick up at your nearest pharmacy or grocery store. And if there’s a pharmacist on duty, they can provide you with advice. However, you still have to be careful and should choose your OTC medications carefully. Follow these steps to make sure you choose wisely.

Take Stock of Your Symptoms

Before you take a look at the medications available to you, you should take a look at your symptoms. Of course, much of the time, it’s very clear what you want to treat. Perhaps you have a headache, you’ve managed to burn yourself, or you have a chesty cough. However, it’s important to consider your symptoms and their cause. A lot of over the counter medicine will help you cope with your symptoms until your body heals itself. Others can help to tackle the root of the problem so you can heal faster. However, there are some serious symptoms you should take to your doctor instead.


Image via Petr Kratochvil

Talk to the Pharmacist

If you visit a pharmacy to get your medication, you can talk to the pharmacist on duty. They are trained to do more than just dispense drugs. You can speak to them about your needs, and they can provide you with advice. They can recommend something for you to buy based on your symptoms. They might also recommend that you see your doctor if they think you need to. If you need to, they can show you cheaper options for branded medication. They know about everything from cold and flu medicine to ED drugs for impotence.

Check the Label

It’s important to check the label on a medicine before you buy it. You might feel that you’re not sure what you’re looking at, but you don’t need a pharmacology degree. The first thing to check is the warnings and recommendations. It will tell you who can and can’t take it, and how and when to take it. There are also things that will help you do some more research. Remember, you have the internet at your disposal! Look at the name and the main ingredients, paying particular attention to any you are allergic too. Of course, the label will also tell you what the medication is for.

Consider Your Other Conditions and Medications

It’s essential to consider any existing health conditions or medication you’re already taking. Some of the things you might need to think about include pregnancy, high blood pressure and kidney or liver conditions. Talking to your doctor is a good idea if you’re taking any medication or have a health condition that could be affected by OTC drugs.

Before you buy an over the counter drug you haven’t tried before, make sure you know what you’re buying. It’s important to be careful and know the risks you could face.


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