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Can decongestants dry you out and cause more harm?

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Old 02-02-2005, 04:03 PM   #1
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veryfrustrated HB User
Can decongestants dry you out and cause more harm?

I'm wondering. Can decongestants cause your nose to dry out and not let your congestion drain? I noticed since i have been taking a decongestant that it hasn't relieved my congestion I still have pressure also i notice if i blow my nose a lot it can start to bleed. Should I lay off the decongestants for a while? i was thinking of maybe using steam with a vapor to help moisten up the mucious to maybe alow it to drain.

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Old 02-02-2005, 06:52 PM   #2
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Re: Can decongestants dry you out and cause more harm?

I think that the vapor may help you-- because yes, they can dry you out from my understanding because of the long term use/etc...
In a town of chimpanzees I was a Monkey....

Old 02-02-2005, 07:37 PM   #3
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Halls HB User
Re: Can decongestants dry you out and cause more harm?

I think Decongestants are crap if you ask me!! My ENT hates them and says most don't help and make your problems worse in the end. Yes, they can dry you up a bit since the open up the passages some. When I take them I feel worse and it is painful. So now I never use them!


Old 02-02-2005, 10:37 PM   #4
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Re: Can decongestants dry you out and cause more harm?

I don't think decongestants are very drying, especially compared to antihistimines. If they are making you feel at least a little better you need to be seen again. Steam will help though

Old 02-03-2005, 07:08 AM   #5
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Re: Can decongestants dry you out and cause more harm?

Also, saline solution is great and very inexpensive. My husband starts using saline spray when he feels the beginnings of a cold, and he usually nips it in the bud! I think partly it helps flush out bacteria to prevent the really bad stuff from accumulating.
If I have a sore throat or headache/sinus pressure I will take a decongestant for pain relief. I learned my sore throats were coming fromthe drainage, so this is when I am most apt to add Actifed to the saline.
But remember, they just ease symptons, they don't cure you, as such. And too much use has given me monster headaches from overdry sinus cavitys.
Remember also the benfits of water and tea....fluid intake...steamy baths...and vaporizers IF they are well cleaned.

Old 02-03-2005, 09:39 AM   #6
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Re: Can decongestants dry you out and cause more harm?

Antihisthamines are meant to "dry you up," decongestants "break up". I'm not a big fan of them myself because my heart races when I take them and they don't seem to do much....but they do work for some people. I would suggest checking the humidity in your home, especially with winter heat (not sure where you live). A humidifier could help if that's the case. Saline solution is a also a good idea too! Good luck!

Old 02-03-2005, 11:25 AM   #7
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Re: Can decongestants dry you out and cause more harm?

Yes, vaporizors and the like tend to work better for me, too, than decongestants but you are right, whoever said that they don't dry you up like antihistamines do--those are worse...also, just beware with the salines that even though they aren't addictive, I have been told that there is a preservative in them that can irritate some ppl more...I dont know if there is scientifc truth to this, but there is chlorine--in Ocean nasal mist, and after I quit using it my nose has gotten SO much more clear!! And while I was still sick, I even tried just luke warm water with some salt--table salt--thrown in and that seemed to loosen stuff up, just like a decongestant would do w/out the unwanted side effects.
In a town of chimpanzees I was a Monkey....

Old 02-19-2005, 08:51 AM   #8
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suggi HB User
Re: Can decongestants dry you out and cause more harm?

Hi, Just wanted to let you know that my experience with Vicks personal steam has been pretty good. Just keep it clean and the vaporizer. Also, my ENT said to use a little Bacitracin in each nostril. I am allergic to a lot of antibiotics and he said this way you get a little antibiotic in your system as well as healing the sinuses. I found that did wonders for me although if your sinuses are very plugged to begin with it may make you feel more stuffed up at first. However, I found out that you can become allergic to Bacitracin if used too much so be careful. Since I found that out I haven't used it in my nose as i am allergic to Neosporin and if I need an antibiotic ointment on a cut or something there is nothing else besides the Bacitracin. Just a thought.


Old 02-19-2005, 05:39 PM   #9
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Re: Can decongestants dry you out and cause more harm?

Repeated use of decongestant sprays causes a rebound effect, which can turn into a lifelong problem as it has in me. I wish I'd never heard of the stuff! The more you use it the more your nose stuffs, and the more you think you need to use it. I ended up having 2 nose surgeries to try and fix some of the damage that spray did to my membranes! End result -- I developed vasomotor rhinitis, which is basically like being allergic to life. Allergy symptoms are based on feelings as well as irritants, and the irritants aren't always the same.

If you ever need a decongestant it is better to take it in a pill form. Otherwise use only saline spray as others recommend.

Old 02-20-2005, 04:09 AM   #10
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Zenfish HB User
Re: Can decongestants dry you out and cause more harm?

Decongestants are horrible creations, if you tend to have dry skin, asthma or tend towards dehydration. They'll turn a cold into pneumonia if you're not careful.
Until I was 43 I had more colds than anyone deserved because I had an undiagnosed allergy or intolerance to wheat, which is another story. Now I'm 46 and cold-free, but here's what I do now when I contract one every couple years.
Decongestants harden up your snot like cement, so it's hard to blow out your nose. Why would that help? I avoid decongestants -- they prevent your body from doing the natural thing - creating mucus to get rid of viruses or bacteria.

Drink as much water as you can reasonably stand. Drink it very warm because it goes down fast and warms you up. Tea is fine, but only if it's caffeine free.
Soak in the hottest, deepest bathtub available, as long as you can stand it.
Drink some more water.
Sleep as long as you can, undisturbed.
By doing this I create an artificial feaver to accelerate the demise of my cold.
Works for me. I completely knock out a cold in 24-48 hours. But then, I've had a LOT of practice.

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