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The Best Medicine For Congestion: A Complete Rundown

How To Buy The Best Congestion Medicine

Adam Partridge, PA-C Profile Photo

Written by Adam Partridge, PA-C on July 29, 2021

When it comes to treating congestion, you or your little one probably want quick and easy solutions that will bring you some relief in no time. Congestion can be a real nuisance, and unfortunately… so can picking the right decongestant medication.

Many commercially available decongestants are chock full of inactive, artificial ingredients that have the potential to harm your health, and other decongestants may not be as effective as you need them to be. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of the ingredients you take when trying to clear your pathways. Below are some of the best options available.

Medicines To Avoid: The Dangers of Artificial, Inactive Ingredients

Unfortunately, many commercially available OTC medicines come along with plenty of artificial, inactive ingredients… and these ingredients may be doing more harm than good.

Artificial sweeteners are commonly used to improve the taste of medications, and chemical dyes are often included to make medicines a more appealing color. On the flip side, though, this can have consequences.

Ingredients like these have a high likelihood of triggering allergic reactions, and the severity of these allergic reactions varies. For some people, it may be nothing more than a small rash or an upset stomach, but for others, it can be as serious as difficulty breathing.

It doesn’t stop there, though.
Researchers have found around 38 inactive, artificial ingredients that have been linked to adverse effects, and 93% of pills and capsules examined in one study were found to contain at least one of those 38 potential allergens. Chemical dyes such as tartrazine have been widely found to cause allergic reactions and other adverse effects, and these ingredients also happen to be used in plenty of commercially available products.

Truth be told, it probably is not worth the risk, because you may not know you are allergic to an ingredient until you ingest it and end up suffering the consequences. What makes it worse is that it can often be hard to identify which ingredient it is that you had the reaction to in the first place. You may be better off avoiding those inactive, artificial ingredients altogether and opting for clean alternatives instead.

Different Types of Decongestant Medications

Decongestant medications come in all shapes and sizes, which can make it a little bit difficult to settle on one that you think might work the best for you. Allow me to clear up some of the confusion and give you the lowdown on all things decongestant.

Essentially, decongestants work by reducing the swelling of the blood vessels in your nose, thus opening your airways and making it easier to breathe and get rid of the mucus that has built up in your nasal passages.

Decongestants are available in several different forms, including:

  • Nasal sprays: Nasal sprays involve you spraying 1 or 2 spritzes of the solution into each nostril every day as directed until your symptoms clear up or to help soothe irritation. These tend to work the best, but their use is limited.
  • Nasal drops: Similar to nasal sprays, nasal drops entail placing 1 or 2 drops of the medicine into each nostril. This method often works by helping to thin and loosen any mucus in your nose so that it is easier to get rid of. Alternatively, some nasal drops may be medicated such that they are aimed at reducing inflammation in your nose rather than working to thin out the mucus.
  • Tablets or capsules: Decongestant tablets or capsules are taken orally and are filled with decongestant medication.
  • Liquids and syrups: Decongestant liquids and syrups are taken orally and can be highly effective, but it is important to watch out for artificial sweeteners and chemical dyes with this type of product.

Make sure to look for ingredients used in medications that are non-GMO so that you can rest assured that your medicine will not be doing more harm than good.

The Complete Rundown on Homeopathic Remedies: What Are They?

You may be wondering what exactly Homeopathic means. Homeopathy and homeopathic remedies are centered around the belief that your body is capable of healing itself, and that instead of needing medicine in order to heal, your body benefits from medicine that helps support you while you heal. Homeopathic remedies help enhance your body’s natural ability to heal itself.

Homeopathic remedies are highly safe and can prove to be very effective, so they may be the perfect alternative to commercial products that are full of artificial, allergic reaction-causing stuff. Homeopathic remedies have long been used to treat a variety of ailments, including minor injuries like cuts, scrapes, and sprains, allergies, arthritis, and IBS. That said, homeopathy can also be used to maintain your health, not just amp up your health when you are feeling under-the-weather.

Regardless of what kind of medicine you do choose to use, it is always important to consult a doctor before you try out something you have not used before. Your doctor will always be able to help answer your questions as well as advise you when it comes to proper usage and dosages of certain medications, which is a critical part of protecting your health.

Even though homeopathy is widely regarded as safe, homeopathic medicines can, like any other form of medicine, interact with any other medications you are currently taking. Thus, consulting your doctor is a key component of building a safe and effective treatment plan.

Pay Attention to the Ingredient List

Whether you opt for homeopathic remedies or otherwise clean medicine alternatives to commonly available products, it is always important to check the ingredient list… especially if you already know that you are allergic to certain ingredients.

Checking the ingredient list is a quick and easy way to help ensure that the product you are buying is of the highest quality and that it will meet your expectations. You should not have to make sacrifices when it comes to your health, and checking those ingredients will help make sure that no sneaky allergens or toxins find their way into your body without you realizing it.

Even better, calling your doctor or doing some research if you spot an ingredient that you are unsure of is a fantastic way to gain some clarity and build a more thorough understanding of what might be hiding in your medicine cabinet. You can never be too educated about your health and wellbeing, and getting a professional opinion can prevent you from ingesting something potentially dangerous, especially if your child is the one in need of medicine.

The Bottom Line

Decongestant medications come in many shapes and sizes, and it can be tough to decode these medications on your own. Nasal sprays and drops, medicated tablets and capsules, or liquid medicines are all examples of decongestant formulations, and they all work slightly differently.

That said, it is important to keep in mind that many commercially available products contain inactive, artificial ingredients, some of which can put your health in harm’s way. Things like artificial sweeteners and chemical dyes are included in more products than you might realize, and these ingredients are also widely known to be allergens that cause allergic reactions alongside other adverse effects. Because of this, blindly choosing a decongestant medicine is risky business, and you surely are not alone if you think the risk is not worth it. Homeopathic remedies and other made-for-humans alternatives to common OTC products can provide you relief while ensuring that you are getting medicine you can trust.