U.S. News and World Report and Pharmacy Times has released its annual list of top over-the-counter products for 2019. Their list is full of medicine-cabinet staples, like Advil and Neosporin, with a few new additions, like Zyrtec and Children's Claritin becoming the top picks for allergy relief.
With recommendations from thousands of pharmacists for hundreds of brands, the report gives readers reliable advice on what brands and products to consider. Below, we've assembled some of the most notable products.
Editor's note: These are recommendations for popular products from pharmacists and should not be considered a diagnosis or a substitute for seeing the doctor.
Advil Pain Reliever, 200mg, $13, Amazon
Advil contains ibuprofen, which is in a drug class known as NSAIDs. They're especially effective for treatment of headaches, joint and muscle pain, and backaches. There has been reported cardiovascular risk associated with NSAID use. If someone needs to use them for an extended period of time, they should be sure to speak with a doctor or pharmacist.
Children's Tylenol, $6, Amazon
Ever-versatile, Children's Tylenol is a staple in most parent's medicine cabinets. Suitable for pain relief and fever reduction, it can help with many childhood ailments, and since it's not an NSAID like Advil, it has milder risks. However, proper dosing is still important — it's weight based, so make sure to use the correct measurements, and if you're looking to give it to a child under 2, consult a doctor first.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100+, $8, Amazon
When it comes to the hot summer sun, prevention is the best protection. One in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, but with a high-SPF sunblock, that risk is lessened. U.S. News and World Report recommends an SPF of 30 or higher, with UVA and UVB protection. Water resistance is always a plus — and this sunscreen from Neutrogena fulfills all those requirements. Sheer and quick-drying, it doesn't leave behind sticky residue, and the high SPF will protect even in the hottest months.
Solarcaine Cool Aloe Burn Relief Gel, $6, Amazon
While sunblock is a great way to protect your skin, sometimes you miss a spot or spend too long outdoors, resulting in an angry sunburn. This relieving gel includes lidocaine and aloe vera to help relieve pain. Though it shouldn't be applied to raw or blistered skin, it can help relieve the pain — and if you can keep it chilled or in a cold place, you can get even more cool comfort when applying.
Zyrtec 24 Hour Allergy Relief Tablets, $23, Amazon
Zyrtec is a second-generation antihistamine, used commonly for both seasonal and year-round allergies. Unlike a lot of popular allergy medications, it's non-sedating (though some users might feel some drowsiness), so it's a great option for daytime symptom relief.
Children's Claritin Grape Chewables, $27, Amazon
Claritin is also a second-generation antihistamine and is even less sedating than Zyrtec. It's available as both a chewable and a syrup, so there's sure to be an option your kid will be willing to try. As with other children's medications, dosing is important, and a doctor should be consulted if you're giving it to a child younger than 2.
After Bite Itch Eraser Pen, $5, Amazon
Bug bites are an unfortunate reality of summer — with mosquitos, bees and other winged insects out in full effect, it's almost impossible to avoid them. After Bite won't prevent bites, but it'll help assuage itchiness. With baking soda and ammonia, it'll relieve irritation, and the easy-to-use, pen-style tool can be easily stored in a beach bag, picnic basket or even just a pocket.
Please keep in mind that this is not meant for allergic reactions and should not replace epinephrine. If you're experiencing severe symptoms like throat swelling or trouble breathing, immediately seek medical attention.
Band-Aids, 100 Count, $7, Amazon
Band-Aids are a familiar product to all of us, but their importance can't be overstated — keeping a wound clean and covered is one of the most important parts of the healing process. Available in a variety of forms, this multi-sized 100-count pack is particularly versatile.
Neosporin, $7, Amazon
In addition to bandages, a topical ointment can help prevent infection and keep an injury clean. Good wound care includes cleaning the area and then applying an ointment like Neosporin before placing a bandage, so make sure not to skip this step. However, topicals produced like this one can only prevent infections, not treat an active one — so if you suspect an active infection, check in with your doctor.
Vicks DayQuil Cold & Flu, $15, Amazon
There's nothing worse than a summer cold, especially when it's beautiful outside. While there are many formulations of cold and flu products, DayQuil is a particular favorite for its non-drowsy qualities and coverage for a wide variety of symptoms, including for nasal stuffiness, coughs, fevers and general aches. One important thing to remember when using these products is to be careful with the ingredient acetaminophen — you should only consume a certain amount a day, so be sure to double-check your dosage.
For more expert recommendations, check out:
- The 5 best mosquito repellents and bug sprays in 2019 from Consumer Reports
- The best sunscreens to buy in 2019 according to Consumer Reports