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Stuffy Nose? Let's ease the pressure...Over the counter

Stuffy Nose? Let’s ease the pressure with some over the counter options.

Head clogged? Ears clogged? Trying to blow and nothing comes out? Classic signs of sinus congestion. Unfortunately, there is only 1 oral treatment for this. Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) is the go-to oral nasal decongestant to combat the dreaded sinus headache. Sold in formulations of 4 to 6 hour,12 hour, and 24 hour, there is nothing else in tablet form that can provide relief. Sudafed works by shrinking our inflamed nasal mucous membranes allowing us to breathe better.

Even though Sudafed is the selection for sinus congestion/pressure, it does have a dark side. It is the main ingredient in Crystal Meth (methamphetamine, aka “speed”) production. Not only are ALL Sudafed products non-drowsy, it can cause some difficulties falling asleep. Sudafed also increases heart rate and blood pressure, hence it is NOT recommended for anyone with a history of heart disease or high blood pressure.

Remember from the previous post, a stuffy nose is the opposite of a runny nose, therefore taking a nasal decongestant can worsen runny symptoms.

What if I have both? What if I’m runny yet stuffy at the same time?? Luckily there are combination products that contain both an antihistamine and nasal decongestant all in one. The antihistamines Loratadine (Claritin), Fexofenadine (Allegra), and Cetirizine (Zyrtec) are each combined with Pseudophedrine to provide patients an option to treat both symptoms simultaneously.

In the next couple posts, we will consider other therapies out there for you allergy sufferers, including nasal sprays, eye drops, sinus washes, and home remedies. Stay tuned!

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