Decongestant Safety

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Story Updated: Oct 14, 2013

With the change of seasons...many of us will come down with a cold. The flu bug can also start biting this time of year. Decongestants can be a great help...relieving stuffy noses caused by a cold, flu, sinusitis or allergies. But here are some important do's and don'ts.

-Review the ingredients. Many times decongestants are lumped in a combination formula with pain relievers or antihistamines.

-With that, avoid taking a medication that treats multiple symptoms, if you don't need it.

-If you're taking other medications, make sure the decongestant won't interact with them. Medicines for asthma, high blood pressure and diet drugs may conflict.

-Talk to your doctor before using a decongestant if you have a heart condition, diabetes, glaucoma, thyroid or prostate problems.

-Check the label for the expiration date. Many of us save decongestants from season to season...and they do expire!

- Finally...call your doctor if your congestion lasts more than two weeks, if you have a fever, or if you have severe pain in your face or sinuses.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the news that can help you stay healthy, happy, and fit.

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The UHS Sports Medicine Program specializes in diagnosing and treating orthopedic and sports-related injuries, providing care on an outpatient basis. The program combines the expertise of certified athletic trainers and physical therapists, who work closely with sports medicine physicians on our medical staff to help patients resume their physical activities as soon as possible.