Decongestants may help shrink swollen tissues in the nose, sinuses,
throat, and the space behind the eardrum (middle ear). This may relieve
pressure and pain.
Decongestants can be taken by mouth (oral) or
used as nose drops or sprays. Oral decongestants are probably more effective
and provide longer relief, but they cause more side effects. There are only two
nonprescription decongestants that you can take as a pill: pseudoephedrine
(such as Sudafed) and phenylephrine (such as Sudafed PE). In some states, any
medicine that contains pseudoephedrine is kept behind the pharmacist's counter
so you will need to ask the pharmacist for it. In other states, you have to
have a prescription from your doctor to buy medicine containing
Try these tips for allergy relief when you’re on vacation or traveling on
Travel Insurance: Check pollen counts at your destination. Pack your
own hypoallergenic pillow cover and allergy medicine in a carry-on bag.
No Venting: On road trips, keep the air vent closed. You'll breathe
recirculated air, not pollen or pollution.
Smart Car: Take a vacuum to your car. Pollen and dust mites can
easily cling to clothing, bringing more allergens into your home.
Sprays and drops provide rapid but temporary
relief. Neo-Synephrine is an effective nasal spray. Sprays and drops are less
likely to interact with other medicines, which may be a problem with oral
These medicines may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems. Before you use them, check the label. If you do use these medicines, always follow the directions about how much to use based on age and in some cases weight.
Do not use medicated nasal sprays or drops more often than directed
and not longer than 3 days. Continued use will cause your mucous membranes to
swell up more than before using the spray (rebound effect).
Drink extra fluids when taking cold
If you are uncertain about which decongestant to use,
ask your pharmacist or doctor to help you choose one.