TAKING decongestants like Lemsip for a persistent head cold does nothing for blocked noses, say health watchdogs.
Huddling over a steaming bowl with a towel on your head is a waste of time too, a study reveals.
Basic Sudafed is also useless against it, according to the latest research.
Sufferers usually recover in two to three weeks.
While paracetamol in Lemsip may help with headaches, runny noses are not cured.
New guidance to the NHS from NICE — the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence — states:
“No evidence was found for using oral decongestants, antihistamines, mucolytics, steam inhalation or warm face packs.”
Nine in ten sinusitis sufferers who see doctors are prescribed drugs including antibiotics, which are usually no good.
Dr Tessa Lewis, of NICE, said of GPs: “They should tell them that they’ll probably be feeling this way for a while, and that unless they are very unwell, the best thing to do is to take paracetamol and take it easy.”
The organisation that represents makers of over-the- counter medicines insisted that decongestants can play a role.
John Smith, chief executive of the Proprietary Association of Great Britain, said: “They can help to relieve symptoms, such as a runny or blocked nose.”
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