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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.
Call your doctor if your signs and symptoms get worse instead of better or last more than 10 days.
Sheldon G. Sheps, M.D.
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