Most People Say They Would Reach For This Over-The-Counter Cold Medication - Exclusive Survey

Colds are indeed common and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that millions of people will get a cold every year, with most adults averaging two to three. Colds are caused by viruses, with the rhinovirus being the most common, and these germs spread easily through the air. You're probably familiar with cold symptoms that include a runny nose, sneezing, a sore and scratchy throat, coughing, headaches, and an aching body.

Unfortunately, there isn't a cure for colds, and you generally have to wait them out, which can be anywhere from several days to several weeks, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Moreover, antibiotics don't work against common colds. In fact, the CDC reports that when you take antibiotics unnecessarily, your body can struggle to fight infections later on down the road. So what is the best defense against a cold? Health Digest polled readers to find out their preferred methods. 

An old favorite was at the top of the list

The survey included responses from 583 readers, and at the top of the list was a medication that's been around for decades. Of those polled, 38.42% said they prefer DayQuil and NyQuil, which have been around since 1966, according to Vicks. Tylenol Cold & Flu came in second place, with 24.36% of respondents saying that was their medication of choice. Participants' third choice was Mucinex, with 21.44% of our readers saying it was their method for helping fight cold symptoms. Rounding out the top five were Advil Cold & Flu and Zicam with 10.98% and 4.8% of votes, respectively.

You should consult your physician if you experience chest pain, have trouble breathing, or experience shortness of breath when you have a cold. These are symptoms of more serious conditions like pneumonia or heart disease. Likewise, if you can't get your fever to go down or if your cough won't go away or it worsens over time, you may need to call your doctor (via WebMD).