Health Watch — Winter: Cold Medicine

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about coping with winter. Colds and flu are more common at this time of year, but before you treat your symptoms with over-the-counter medication, you should read the label.

Acetaminophen is the main ingredient in many over-the-counter pain relievers, but it’s also found in many cold and flu remedies. Dr. William Lee, an expert in liver diseases at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says it’s easy to lose track of how much acetaminophen you’re taking when you’re taking multiple medications — such as if you take pain relievers for arthritis and take a cold medicine. An overdose of acetaminophen could cause liver damage. Avoid taking more than 4,000 milligrams of acetaminophen a day — less if you have an illness that affects the liver. Alcohol use makes acetaminophen even more dangerous to the liver.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in liver diseases.


December 2007

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