The symptoms of a common cold can hinder your day to day life. In previous blogs, we have been looking at the benefits of zinc (part 1 and part 2) and antihistamine to combat the common cold. All of these are a part of the Cold FAid® kit. The third component is nasal decongestants. Lessen your stuffy nose and sinus pressure in no time!
The nasal decongestant’s job is to relieve congestion and sinus pressure. The two active ingredients most commonly found in decongestants are either phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine. With the Cold FAid® system, we use phenylephrine, an effective decongestant as shown in many studies such as this. It is referred to with the letters PE following the product name in order to best delineate its active ingredient as phenylephrine. This is an over-the-counter decongestant.
Pseudoephedrine is a regulated, behind-the-counter medication, due to drug abuse. Personal identification is now required for purchase. A pharmacist enters personal information into a Meth Check national database. These regulatory measures help to prevent misuse of pseudoephedrine to make methamphetamines, an addictive drug. Despite the more specific purchasing instructions for pseudoephedrine, it is an excellent decongestant. It boasts greater circulating blood levels (bioavailability) than phenylephrine.
The way decongestants work is by constricting the blood vessels within your nose and minimizing swelling. This allows more air to flow through and alleviates pressure. As mentioned in the previous blog on antihistamines, antihistamines are most effective in relieving cold symptoms when used in conjunction with decongestants. This minimizes the chance of complications such as sinusitis and optimizes the level of functioning during recovery.
When in a pharmacy, many different forms of decongestants can be found- tablets, liquids, or nasal drops/sprays. If using decongestant nose drops/sprays, do not intake them for more than 3 days. Otherwise, you can experience recurring congestion, known as rebound congestion.
The Decongestant PE in our Cold FAid® kit is provided in tablet form. It is recommended to take 1 tablet every 4 hours for the first 72 hours. After that, discontinue use once symptoms clear. Taking the tablet with food is the best strategy to avoid getting an upset stomach. Stop taking the medication and contact your physician if experiencing these side effects: sleeplessness, nervousness, and dizziness. Since Decongestant PE is a stimulant, it is best to avoid excessive caffeine, like coffee, tea, and soda.
Using nasal decongestants as an ally in your fight against cold symptoms will help to reduce the severity and duration of the cold. Here at Cold FAid®, we hope for a speedy recovery for you and your family!