Here’s some important news about common over-the-counter cold medications. Many decongestants contain ingredients that work by constricting blood vessels, which also raises blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure that isn’t well controlled, taking these medications can be dangerous.

The best option is to avoid decongestants—including multi-symptom cold medications—that contain ingredients such as pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, phenylephrine, naphazoline and oxymetazoline.

There are some cold medicines designed not to raise blood pressure, such as Coricidin HBP. It’s a good idea to check with your pharmacist to see which cold medication she recommends for people with high blood pressure.

Other cold treatments that can help you feel better without raising your blood pressure include:

  • Taking a pain reliever, particularly those with anti-inflammatory properties, such as aspirin and ibuprofen
  • Using a neti pot or saline nasal spray to flush your sinuses
  • Drinking plenty of non-caffeinated fluids
  • Getting plenty of rest

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