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Discussion:
What do you take for colds?
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Hello everyone. I am newly diagnosed. My doctor has taken me off of my Zyrtec (taken for allergies/asthma). He has told me to avoid any type of antihistamine, decongestant and steroid. I currently have a head cold and was wondering, given those parameters, if there is anything you guys know of that can be safely taken to relieve cold symptoms. Thanks!
Posted on 12/31/11, 06:33 pm
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Reply #1 - 12/31/11  6:58pm
" 3 doctors replies:

Dr. Ronald Mark Firth of Intermountain Healthcare answered: Decongestants that are found in over-the-counter (OTC) cold medications have several potential side effects. Sometimes they can make you feel on-edge or anxious. They can prevent sleep and in older men can make it difficult to urinate due to effects on the prostate. Because of the stimulant effects of some cold medicines it can also make the heart race and trigger a rapid heart rate response in those with atrial fibrillation. These side effects are quite individualized. They don't occur in all people who take them.
Most people with atrial fibrillation are on prescribed medications. Interactions are possible between OTC meds and prescribed meds. If you have atrial fibrillation it is always best to consult your physician before taking any OTC or herbal supplement to prevent unwanted medication to medication interaction and prevent rapid heart rate.

Dr. Indrajit Choudhuri of Aurora Health Care answered: People with atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm, can take cold medicine; however, it is best to avoid cold medicines with decongestants. Some cold medicines have “decongestants” that are actually stimulants, such as caffeine or ephedrine, and these can increase the heart rate in people with atrial fibrillation. In people with atrial fibrillation who have been maintaining a normal heart rate, or sinus rhythm, decongestants can cause the atrial fibrillation to return.
Dr. Douglas Severance answered: If you have atrial fibrillation, ask your doctor before taking cold medicine or any over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications. The reason is that some OTC medications can interact with the anti-arrhythmic medication you may be taking. Also, cold medicines (OTC and prescription) that contain pseudoephedrine act as stimulants and may worsen atrial fibrillation. When you take a decongestant, the medication narrows your blood vessels. This makes it hard for blood to flow through the narrowed vessels and can result in high blood pressure. Some decongestants can cause your high blood pressure medication to be less effective. Medications to watch out for if you have atrial fibrillation include:
-Sudafed (pseudoephedrine)
-Sudafed PE (phenylephrine)
-Afrin and other decongestant nasal sprays and pumps (oxymetazoline)
-Combination cold and sinus medications that have both decongestants and antihistamines

To find out if your cold medicine contains a decongestant, read the label. It's a good idea to talk with your doctor about any medication that is not prescribed. Also, your pharmacist can check the label of a medicine and let you know if it's safe for someone with atrial fibrillation and/or high blood pressure. "
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Reply #2 - 12/31/11  7:13pm
" I use a Neti Pot. It is very helpful for me. I was told I could use the coricidin hbp products, but I have not used them yet. Always wise to check it out with dr. I hope you feel better, lots of fluids and rest and may as well have some chicken noodle soup. Blessings to you "
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Reply #3 - 12/31/11  8:31pm
" I do take zyrtec, but avoid all OTC cold products. I have also used DM cough syrup without a problem. "
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Reply #4 - 01/01/12  4:17am
" I have used Coricidin HBP. The HBP products are decongestant free and are for use by people with high blood pressure. My doctor suggested I use this when I have a cold. Even tho I don't have HBP, the decongestant free part is important so as not to raise heart rate.
I have taken it a couple of times without a problem. Hope this helps! "
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Reply #5 - 01/01/12  8:35am
" PS...many sleep aide products have pseudoephedrine in them. Best to stay away from those too.
Forgive everyone (including yourself) and be grateful and have a good nights sleep "
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Reply #6 - 01/02/12  8:21am
" I just do the usual "old" time remedies. Homemade chicken broth, usually a perpetual broth. Cod liver oil, elderberry, neti pot, vitamin C. Some people use oil of oregano, one of my daughters used it and said it worked quick. Fresh oranges, as fresh as possible.
The dr. never told me what not to eat or do, I just already do those things anyway. If it feels like it's going to be a sinus infection then I put a drop or two of hydrogen peroxide in my ears. Also, forgot, I put lots of garlic and onions in the broth. Sometimes I make a soup out of it adding in a veggie, a tad of brown rice, other times I just drink it from a mug. Of course, don't forget the usual hot teas. There are so many kinds now, but the hot steaminess alone will help. "
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Reply #7 - 01/04/12  10:08pm
" All,

I made a mistake the other night...

I have a stuff nose, so I gave a squirt of AFRIN (the nasal spray), 1 in each nostril. Immediately my wife said, "You probably shouldn't have done that..."

Boy was she right. My rate and rhythm were messed up really bad. The worst bout of AFIB I've ever had and lasted only ~ 5 hours. Closest I've come to sending myself to the ER.

Robert "
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Reply #8 - 01/12/12  10:59am
" I have afib for years, and take 25 mg of metoprol (1/2 the minimum dose). The last few months my afib has been rather good with only 1-2 minor episodes per week. On Saturday I came down with a head cold. I took Claritin, 1 per day, for four days, and Mucinex 1 every 12 hours for four days (dripping a lot). By Tuesday, the cold was moving into my chest and leaving the nose, so I relaced the Claritin with Robitussin DM and kept taking the Mucinex. BAD IDEA. On Wedneaday I had the worst AFIB episode I have had in years! I could bearly stand up. Seems the Robitussin and Mucinex have the same ingredients. Looks like I OD'ed. Neither of these mediations report issues with heart problems, and I have read quite a few research reports. Maybe it's me. Somewhat better today. "
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Reply #9 - 01/13/12  10:39am
" I take zyrtec when needed - not on a regular basis - I have itchy skin - and sometimes I take sudafed - I also use DM cough med - none of them seem to bother me except they can change the effect of the coumadin level so that has to be watched. "

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