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High blood pressure and cold remedies: Which are safe?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-blood-pressure/AN01927
- With Mayo Clinic emeritus hypertension specialist
Sheldon G. Sheps, M.D.read biographyclose window
Sheldon G. Sheps, M.D.Sheldon Sheps, M.D.
Dr. Sheldon Sheps, emeritus professor of medicine and former chair of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension in the Department of Medicine at Mayo Clinic, has been with Mayo Clinic since 1960.
Dr. Sheps, a Winnipeg, Manitoba, native, is board certified in internal medicine and specializes in hypertension and peripheral vascular diseases. He developed a multidisciplinary approach with specially trained nurses, dietitians, technicians and educators to help form a team approach to the treatment of patients with abnormal blood pressure.
"I have always believed in involving the patient and family in their health care," Dr. Sheps says. "I have asked for their understanding of the illness and issues and for participation in decisions. The Web is a natural extension of that, and now many more people can be informed."
Dr. Sheps chaired the sixth working group, and he participated in the fourth, fifth and seventh groups that developed the then-latest guidelines for hypertension under the auspices of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). He helped write the latest American Heart Association (AHA) report on blood pressure measurement. He chaired an AHA group that produced an online accreditation for blood pressure measurement for health professionals.
Dr. Sheps has co-authored books, newsletters, CD-ROMs and other Mayo Clinic health information material. He joined Mayo Clinic's Web team in 1998. He was medical editor-in-chief of both editions of the "Mayo Clinic on High Blood Pressure" book; the last edition was published in 2003. He was also medical editor-in-chief of "Mayo Clinic 5 Steps to Controlling High Blood Pressure," published in 2008.
In addition, Dr. Sheps was section editor for each of the first three editions of "Hypertension Primer" for the American Heart Association.
Dr. Sheps was also chairman of the Science Base Subcommittee and the National High Blood Pressure Education Program, and he was a consultant to the Hypertension Initiative of the World Health Organization. In 1997, he was honored with the Individual Achievement Award on the 25th anniversary of the National High Blood Pressure Education Program of NHLBI. In 2009, he was honored as a Distinguished Mayo Alumnus.
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High blood pressure and cold remedies: Which are safe?
Are over-the-counter cold remedies safe for people who have high blood pressure?
from Sheldon G. Sheps, M.D.
Over-the-counter cold remedies aren't off-limits if you have high blood pressure, but it's important to make careful choices.
Among over-the-counter cold remedies, decongestants cause the most concern for people who have high blood pressure. Decongestants relieve nasal stuffiness by narrowing blood vessels and reducing swelling in the nose. This narrowing can affect other blood vessels as well, which can increase blood pressure.
To keep your blood pressure in check, avoid over-the-counter decongestants and multisymptom cold remedies that contain decongestants — such as pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, phenylephrine, naphazoline and oxymetazoline.
- Choose a cold medication designed for people who have high blood pressure. Some cold medications, such as Coricidin HBP, don't contain decongestants. However, these medications may contain other powerful drugs, such as dextromethorphan, that can be dangerous if you take too much. Follow the dosing instructions carefully.
- Take a pain reliever. To relieve a fever, sore throat, headache or body aches, try aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
- Use saline nasal spray. To relieve nasal congestion, try saline nasal spray. The spray can help flush your sinuses.
- Soothe your throat. To relieve a sore or scratchy throat, gargle with warm salt water or drink warm water with lemon juice and honey.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Water, juice, tea and soup can help clear your lungs of phlegm and mucus.
- Increase the humidity in your home. Use a cool-mist humidifier or vaporizer to moisten the air and ease congestion and coughing.
- Get plenty of rest. If you're not feeling well, take it easy.
Call your doctor if your signs and symptoms get worse instead of better or last more than 10 days.Next question
Can whole-grain foods lower blood pressure?
- Over-the-counter medications. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/PreventionTreatmentofHighBloodPressure/Over-the-Counter-Medications_UCM_303245_Article.jsp. Accessed March 6, 2013.
- Sexton DJ, et al. The common cold in adults: Treatment and prevention. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 6, 2013.
- Common cold: Treatment. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/commonCold/Pages/treatment.aspx. Accessed March 6, 2013.
- Intelligence bulletin: DXM (dextromethorphan). National Drug Intelligence Center. http://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs11/11563/. Accessed March 6, 2013.