Over the Counter Drugs

   Taking over the counter (OTC) drugs may seem like the safe route this allergy season to cure that annoying stuffy nose and headache, but do you really know the temporary and long-term effects of these so called safe drugs?

  OTC drugs are predominantly used to alleviate a common cold or allergy, but what users don’t realize is that OTC drugs are proven to be just as addicting and have the same effects on the human body as would an illegal drug.

  One of the biggest misconceptions about OTC drugs is that because these drugs are on the shelves and are so readily available to be bought by shoppers, they must be safer for the human body versus a street drug which has not been approved by the FDA. This is a logical thought, but it has been scientifically proven that OTC drugs have the same effects in the human body as a street drug.

  According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, prescription opioid pain medications such as Tylenol, “bind to molecules on cells known as opioid receptors—the same receptors that respond to heroin.” Opioids can also cause drowsiness, extreme nausea and constipation; higher doses can cause lung failure as well as death.

  One might argue that OTC drugs won’t affect them because they don’t take them as often enough to even acquire a symptom, but that is where addiction comes into play.

  Whether users realize it or not, after swallowing that first pill of Advil or Tylenol, their brain is automatically affected by the drug. Prescription drugs that affect the brain can cause dependence on the drug which can lead to an addiction. Medications affect the brain by tapping into its communication system and interfering with the way neurons send, receive, and process information.

  Next time you get a headache or a sore throat and have the impulse to take medicine, think about the effects that may come with it. Then to ease your illness try these simple and natural options, but before doing so, consult your parent/guardian and/or physician.

To soothe a sore throat:

“Gargle twice daily with a solution of six pressed garlic cloves mixed into a glass of warm (not hot) water. Follow the regimen for 3 days. Research shows that fresh garlic juice has antimicrobial properties that fight pain-causing bacteria. The warm liquid soothes inflamed tissue.”

To help a cold:

“Cut a vitamin C–rich lemon in half and squeeze the juice from one-half into a cup. Studies show that vitamin C taken before the onset of a cold shortens its duration and severity. Drop the lemon half shell into the cup. Add boiling water and a teaspoon of organic raw honey, an immunity booster that also coats painful throat tissues. Breathe in the healing vapor to open sinuses, and sip a cupful two or three times daily to fight the bug.”

To revive puffy eyes:

“Black tea is chock-full of astringent compounds called tannins that can help deflate and tighten the bags under your eyes. Activate the tannins in a tea bag by dipping in a cup of hot water for several minutes. Cool in the fridge, then apply the damp bag as a compress to the closed eye for 10 minutes.”