HOUSTON (KIAH) – As we head into the cold and flu season, reaching for your go to over-the-counter decongestant may not be for the best. The Food and Drug Administration said common decongestants containing phenylephrine are not effective when taken in pill or liquid form to treat nasal congestion.

The FDA found the medication is safe but not enough of the drug circulates throughout your system to be effective.

Other useful over-the-counter treatments include using a nasal saline spray and saline washes. Your may be prescribed nasal steroids or oral decongestants.