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by Dylan Fisher (Intern, Student Affairs Marketing and Communications)

Over-the-counter medicines


When sick with a bug or navigating daily well-being, Student Health Services (SHS) wants to help UAB students stay healthy by providing information on over-the-counter (OTC) medications. These OTC medicines can be short-term remedies for common concerns like cough, fever, seasonal allergies, and more.

If symptoms are severe or haven’t improved within a few days, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with SHS through the online portal or by calling the office at (205) 934-3580.

“Over-the-counter medications can be difficult to manage without the proper information,” says Kathleen Pridgen MD, “Some medications, though sold under different names, will contain the same drugs and can be harmful when paired together.”

Many combination cold medicines may contain duplicate drugs like acetaminophen or dextromethorphan. To avoid side effects and dosing errors, never take multiple combination medications together containing the same drugs.

We asked representatives at UAB Student Health Services about which medications are helpful to alleviate specific symptoms.




  • What should I take for sinus and nasal congestion?
    SHS: For itching nose, eyes, and runny nose, fluticasone (Flonase) nasal spray is effective when used for several days at a time. For immediate relief of severe congestion, oxymetazoline (Afrin) nasal spray is effective but should be used with caution. It can cause rebound congestion if used for >3 days in a row.


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