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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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com