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The trauma of selecting cold and cough medicine


I'm a fan of StorytellERdoc, an emergency medicine blog that describes itself, appropriately, as "a peek behind the curtain." Today Jim, the blog's physician-author, steps out of the emergency department to lament an all-too-common problem:

. . .I felt abandoned. Confused. Wayward. Standing in the middle of a store aisle. I ended up looking to my left, ready to plead for a stranger's help. I looked to my right, hopeful that some angelic vision enveloped in a bright, shining aura would proclaim the answer to my question. And I looked ahead of me, acutely aware of all of my options.

Which cough and cold medicine should I buy?

Jim has 16 years experience as an ER physician. And, still, with all of his training and knowledge, the phalanx of multi-symptom packages at the drugstore is just as confounding:

You might laugh but, seriously, how does the common person do this? Here I am, with all of this medical knowledge and ER experience in my back pocket, and even I can't make a decision to what I should buy in this endless cough and cold medicine aisle.

The rest of the story is both funny and illustrative of how difficult it can be to rationally select over-the-counter cold and cough medicine. All of us, to varying extents, can feel Jim's pain.

Photo by whiskeyandtears

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