The rhinovirus isn’t about a rhino

Written by Kevin Randolph, Chief Pharmacist

Rhino is actually derived from the Greek, which is translated into Latin meaning “nose”.  You can see why the rhinoceros got their name. So, we use the Latin word Rhino and attach Virus to mean a virus of the nose or most often known as the common cold.

The rhinovirus leaves you feeling lousy, tired, and often experiencing a runny noses, cough, congestion, and sometimes even an upset stomach due to all the goo you are swallowing. We have seen a TON of people in the clinic with the rhinovirus this semester. We have many come into the clinic wanting the Z-Pak cure but antibiotics won’t touch the virus. So we are left with treating the symptoms until your body eliminates or kills the virus through the immune system. Below are our hints at things that you can do and medicine you can take to treat your rhino as well as the symptoms that go along with it.

This is the big issue that needs a tissue (sorry for the humor but it is the best I can do!)

Non-Drowsy AntihistaminesUnfortunately these non-drowsy antihistamines are usually too weak to tackle a cold.

  1. Claritin
  2. Allegra
  3. Zyrtec
  4. Xyzal (this is just a different form of Zyrtec)

Stronger AntihistaminesThese work better but they will make you a bit sleepy. 

  1. Clemastine (Tavist is the brand name)
  2. Chlorpheniramine maleate (Chlor-Trimeton)
  3. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  4. Nyquil (doxylamine succinate)

All of these anti-histamines are available at the SHS Pharmacy for an extremely affordable price.

Stop the slime and you help stop the cough!  If you still have a cough use the following:

  1. Dextromethorphan (DM on most packages): Mucinex DM is probably the best. It takes a few hours for Dextromethorphan to really take effect. So, dose regularly for a few days to control the cough.
  2. Benzonatate: This one is prescribed by a doctor but it helps deaden the cough reflex.
  3. Codeine: This one is prescribed by a doctor as well.
  4. Benzocaine lozenges: We sell these over the counter for only a few dollars and they really deaden the sore throat and help calm a cough.

Feel like a cork has been shoved up your nose?  The sinuses are swollen and you can’t breathe.  Sometimes even your ears feel clogged up.

  1. Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed): This is the only recommended decongestant on the market right now. This is the one that you have to ask for at the pharmacy counter and show ID. There are others out front with the ingredient phenylephrine. It is virtually useless. Get the good stuff behind the counter.
  2. Afrin nasal spray: Use this only when you are desperate to breathe. It can cause dependence in as few as three days. But if you have congestion and have to catch a plane, use it! If you lay down and just can’t breathe at all, go ahead and give a squirt! Just don’t use it more than three days in a row.
  3. Steroid nose spray: Although you have to be careful with this one it does work. There is some evidence that says using steroids in the nose reduces your ability to fight off the infection.
  4. Nasal irrigation: Yep! This is something you mix in a bottle and squirt up your nostril. It goes up into your sinus and drains out your other nostril. Sounds gross and it is but it really works. You will be surprised to know your head is not simply full of brains. There is a LOT OF MUCUS up there that your body really wants to flush out. I highly recommend nasal irrigation even if it is uncomfortable.

If you have questions, the best thing you can do is walk into the Beutel Pharmacy and ask for one of the pharmacists. We can coach you to take the right product for the right issue. We try to find the most inexpensive way to help you cope with your Rhinovirus and keep you in your studies.

For more information, please visit the SHS Pharmacy webpage at