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Virus Infection

Common cold or allergy

Isabel Weinert & Marta Campbell
03.04.2017  10:19 Uhr

Decongestant nasal drops and sprays are in season all year round. When used permanently, they cause addiction, as the nasal mucous membrane swells chronically. There is therefore a need for advice.

During the cold winter months, a common cold is generally caused by a virus infection. The symptoms: scratching in the throat, dry cough, then sniffles, fatigue, and possibly a slightly increased temperature. The ingredients xylometazoline and oxymetazoline in nasal sprays and nose drops help effectively when having a congested nose. They constrict the blood vessels of the nasal mucous membrane, thus decongesting it. This will ease breathing.

Towards spring, however, some allergies show the same symptoms as a viral common cold. Therefore, pharmacy technicians or pharmacists need to ask detailed questions before recommending a medication, particularly in cases where the cold patients are babies or infants.


  • How long have you had this cold?
  • What other symptoms do you or does your child have?
  • Do you or does your child have a temperature, and if so, how high?
  • Do you or does your child have pain in the area of the paranasal sinuses or the frontal sinuses?
  • Do you or does your child have an earache?
  • Has any medication already been taken and if so, which one?
  • Do you or does your child suffer from any allergies?
  • Do you or does your child take any antiallergic medicines?
  • Do you have problems with your eyes?
  • What has helped you once before?


  • These are decongestant nose drops.
  • Before you use a spray, keep pumping in the air until the fluid comes out.
  • Spray only once in each nostril.
  • Never use more spray than is indicated in the package leaflet.
  • Do not use the medicine for more than a week.
  • Do not share the nasal spray with others.
  • After use, briefly rinse the tip of the spray head with tap water.
  • This is an extremely small dosage especially intended for babies and infants.

Additional information

  • If you have a high temperature consult your doctor. This also applies if you are feeling worse. or, after a week, your problems are still there.
  • What is considered to be a common cold could as well be an allergy.
  • Alternatively, you can also use nasal sprays containing sea salt and dexpanthenol or a saline solution. These preparations can also provide relief.
  • Ointments with essential oils for adults as well as for children will also ensure a free nose.
  • If your nose is sore, apply a wound and healing ointment.
  • You can also use the nasal spray if you are pregnant or are breastfeeding.
Deutsch / German Englisch / English
abschwellendes Nasenspray decongestant nasal spray
abschwellende Nasentropfen decongestant nose drops
Dosierung dosage
Erkältung common cold
Fieber temperature
Halsweh sore throat
Heuschnupfen hay fever
Husten cough
Kleinkind infant, baby
Kochsalzlösung saline solution
laufende Nase running nose, runny nose
Meersalz sea salt
Nasennebenhöhlen paranasal sinuses
Nasenschleimhaut nasal mucous membrane
Ohrenschmerzen earache
Packungsbeilage package leaflet, package insert
Pipette pipette
pumpen pump
Schnupfen sniffles, rhinitis, head cold
schwanger pregnant
Sprühkopf spray head
stillen breastfeed
tränende Augen watery eyes
Wund- und Heilsalbe wound and healing ointment
Vocabulary on virus infection