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What You Weren't Told About Decongestant Products

Oct 4, 2007
Decongestant Products

Decongestants are drugs used to relieve nasal congestion, and come in many forms. Decongestants commonly come in pill form, but nasal sprays and liquid syrups are both available as well. Nasal congestion is caused, usually during a cold, when the membranes of the nose become swelled. Decongestants relieve this swelling by constricting the blood vessels in the area. This reduces blood flow to the area, and in turn the swelling.

It is important to remember, like most over the counter medication, that decongestants do nothing to hasten the cure of nasal congestion, but rather relieve the symptoms only. It is for this reason that decongestants should never be used as long term solutions to a chronically stuffed nose. Also keep in mind that 90% of the time, a cold will go away on its own, without the aid of any medication.

So unless you find yourself really inhibited by a stuffed nose, decongestants might not always be the best solution.

Another concern to those who use nasal sprays to relieve their nasal decongestion is the phenomenon of "rebound nasal congestion." This can sometimes occur when a nasal decongestant has been used repeatedly over several days.

What can happen is that the nose actually gets more stuffed up as the spray is used more often, resulting in a condition that can only be stopped by ceasing to use the spray for a week or more until the nose slowly improves. For this reason most physicians will advise that you don't use nasal decongestants for more than 3 days in a row.

One of the side effects associated with decongestants is drowsiness, although this is not necessarily very common. As a precaution you should avoid operating motor vehicles, heavy machinery and the like until you're familiar with the effects that a particular decongestant has on you personally.

There are also certain situations in which it is ill-advised to take a decongestant, unless it is under the supervision of s physician.

Anyone with heart disease, blood pressure problems or an enlarged prostate should avoid decongestants.
Keeping these concerns in mind, decongestants can be an effective short term solution for relief of nasal congestion.

Popular nasal inhalers like Dristan are able to provide almost instant relief from nasal congestion - just remember to avoid using nasal decongestants it for more than a few days in a row, as it could end up actually causing more nasal congestion, though the "rebound nasal congestion" effect
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