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Allergy Decongestant without pseudoephedrine?
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Allergy Decongestant without pseudoephedrine?

I have allergies that both cause pretty bad nasal congestion, and itchy eyes and red face.  None of the medicine affects the nasal congestion which I believe is really affecting the "reactive airways" (possible asthma) that I was diagnosed with earlier this month.  I am currently on advair and aerius but aerius isn't working as well as it use to for me.

I have tried reactive, no change and claritin-D let me breathe really well for 2 days, then severe side effects (heart racing, dizzy spells and severe anixety).  However all the allergy medications I know about (aerius, clartin, reactive, allegra, zrytec) all use pseudoephedrine in their decongesant formulas.  I was wondering if anyone knows of another medicine that works similarly to pseudoephedrine but (hopefully) wouldn't cause me the horrible side effects.

I can't even take the cough medicine I use to take with 5mg of pseudoephedrine because they now cause side effects. Oh and Flonase did absolutely nothing for the nasal congestion and I was on 50mcg, 2 puffs each nostril twice a day for 4 weeks.  I am starting allergy shots soon here but the doctor doesn't want to start them until we get the "reactive airways" under control.
Tags: advair
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681148_tn?1285160820
Sounds just like me!  The pharmacist told me that there are no decongestants without pseudoephedrine.  That's why I feel like those cold medicines that market their products as being heart safe are able to sell their products for more money than something like plain old Diphenhydramine (Benadryl).

Something that does help me, somewhat, is a saline wash.  Okay, what to do is this:  Find a jar with a tight fitting lid that will hold at least a pint.  Now, mix one cup of Baking Soda and one cup of sea salt (I buy mine in the bulk foods section, which is very economical) together very thoroughly and place into your jar for storage.  You now have all the saline mixture you need for a very long time to come.  Since I am sensitive or allergic to latex, I actually disinfect an empty saline spray bottle that had the commercial product in it originally by cleaning it well and submerging it in undiluted white vinegar, just like you would for your nebulizer parts, if you use a nebulizer machine.  It needs to stay in the vinegar for a miniumum of 15 minutes, just like you would for your nebulizer parts.

Now, all you do is take 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of the mixture and place in a drinking glass or clean coffee mug and add approximately 1 cup of warm water and stir thoroughly.  This will now be used in a bulb syringe or the empty saline spray bottle that has been cleaned and disinfected.  Since I can't tolerate ANY amount of solution in my upper sinuses, like the directions say to do, when they instruct a person to snort the mixture while spraying into one nostril until it goes out the other nostril, I just spray the mixture into my lower sinuses to wash the nostrils really well.  Doing it this way was actually just enough to get rid of a sinus infection, too.  And, there was some indescribable grossness that I cleaned out of there.  I obviously did something right, because the stuffiness and signs of sinus infection disappeared by doing it this way, versus going into the upper sinuses as the directions said to do.

Now, the directions do say that this mixture should feel NEUTRAL in your nose and sinuses.  The pH is balanced by mixing the baking soda and the sea salt together.  So, this is why the directions say to use as little as 1/8 teaspoon of the mixture or as much as 1/4 teaspoon of the mixture into one cup of warm water.  The directions still go one step further and say to adjust the temperature of the water and the amount of the mixture, until the solution feels NEUTRAL in your nose and sinuses.

I read on this site how someone said not to use too much of the saline sprays, because it will aggravate certain problems, like getting that awful phantom smell.  I've had this experience, so I know what the poster was talking about. The homemade wash is much gentler than any of the commercial sprays are.  I still don't use it everyday.  I go by how my sinuses feel, because drying out the sinuses will still cause people problems.  That's why you want to use the more pH balanced mixture, verus the commercial mixture.  Not only that, the homemade mixture doesn't have the chemical preservatives in it that the commercial mixtures do.  I would still advise taking it easy on using this benign saline wash mixture, but I know from years of using it that it works.  

My primary care doctor was the one who gave me the hand out for this mixture all those years ago.  I think it's worth a shot, because it certainly won't hurt to use this non-chemical pH balanced solution.  I use it when I'm congested.  And, like I said, I managed to get rid of a sinus infection without having to even go to the doctor's office and without having to resort to using antibiotics, all by washing that gunk out of my sinuses.  Regardless of argument, I still managed to avoid antibiotics, and didn't even have to use pharmaceuticals, which affect me adversely, too.  Definitely worth it!
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746512_tn?1388811180
Already use the nasal rinse and it helps greatly, otherwise I know not be able to breathe at all through my nose but it is still congestion.

I have the Neil-med system with the premixed packets (too lazy to find un-ionized salt) and their squeeze bottle thingy.  I use it twice a day like the instructions say, and believe me the second I wake up I'm rinising because I am coughing and hacking from the drainage.  
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351246_tn?1379685732
Hi
Thanks for writing to the forum!
Not all decongestants are made of pseudoehidrine. You also have phenylephrine too like Sudafed PE, Dimetapp etc which can be taken both as tablets and as nasal drops. You can try these. Plain steam is equally good, first thing in the morning and at bed time.

You probably have sinusitis or allergic rhinitis. Maybe asthma like symptoms too. I cannot say for sure as I cannot examine you. What is important is you must find out what is causing this allergy. Common allergens are pollen, mold, dust, pet dander, synthetic fiber, cosmetics or drugs. You must get an allergy test done, either a skin test or RAST, to know what you all are allergic to.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if there is any thing else and do keep me posted. Take care!
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746512_tn?1388811180
I have allergies to dust mites and cats (and yes I have 2 cats :( and they aren't leaving).  I might have asthma, had air trapping on the function tests but the medicine only increased my value 12% and apparently they have to increase 20% to be considered asthma.  Thus, at this point I'm considered to have reactive airways and on 250-50 advair which is either really helpful, or not helpful at all depending on the day (mainly in regards to congestion and/or stress).  

The doctor wouldn't start my allergy shots until we have the cough/possible asthma under control so it's just OTC meds for now.  I considered some of the cough/cold medicines but most say don't use is you have breathing problems, I'll have to look a little closer since all the ones I saw were psuedoephedrine.

As for the allergies, dust covers on the bed/pillows, vaccuuming with a hepa filter and using allerpet-c on the cats once a week to help denature the cat dander.  However I also have a really bad reaction to one of my lecture halls (university) because the seats are very old and all plush, thus I'm guessing they have a lot of dust mites in them considering the amount of people sitting in them everyday.  

I'm pretty sure the reactive airways is linked to being really congested because it's really bad today (chest tight and fuzzy/foggy feeling and wheezing every so often which is unusual for me) and my nose has been really congested the last day or two.

Another question I have, I know that using decongesants too often is bad and can cause rebound congestion but how soon?  If I use them for 3 days solid, then wait for 3 days is it safe to use it again or should a wait longer in between?
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681148_tn?1285160820
Thank you for explaining about Phynlephine.  My pharmacist didn't mention this ingredient at all and told me that the only decongestants on the market have Pseudoephedrine.  I just couldn't believe it, but that's what he told me.  I'll have to be sure to look for Phenylephine myself the next time I need a decongestant.  I do still use Pseudoephedrine very sparsely, so I don't raise my BP.  Then, I try to just put up with the congestion I have as much as possible.  The scary part is when I get a cold or flu virus.  Fortunately, I haven't had to deal with one of these viruses this year, thus verifying that getting my vitamin D levels up to normal is essential to the immune system.

I like the idea of using steam before using decongestant medications, but I don't really know how to do this.  Just putting a pan on the stove doesn't cut it.  The humidity in my apartment is already always slightly high, according to the hygrometer I have.  The fewer pharmaceuticals coursing through my system, the better.  I sure would like to make my sinuses stop stinging, though.  I'm already dealing with some chronic migraines.
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351246_tn?1379685732
Hi
Thanks for keeping me posted!
Well, there is no hard and fast rule for a safe time gap. I can only say that you use it sparingly. Also as I mentioned earlier, you can try the phenylephrine option. There are certain other precautions you can take since you want to keep the cats.
• Limit the movement of the cats
• Keep the cats out of your bedroom
• Bathe them regularly
• Avoid hugging them
• If you need to hug them then do so before your bath time
• Wear a mask over your moth and nose at home to avoid inhalation of dust and cat dander
I understand you love your cats and it is difficult to part with them. However one thing I want to say: cat allergies only worsen with time.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if there is any thing else and do keep me posted. Take care!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi. Thank you for your remedy. Did your problem ever include fluid or pain in the ears? What to do? Laura
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681148_tn?1285160820
Surprisingly, chiropractic visits helps considerably with the fluid in the ears problem.  I have this problem, too.  I still get the fluid in the ears, too.  I never did get that problem completely resolved.  Benadryl helps dry it up some, but it's so sedating that I don't like taking it during the day time.  Zyrtec is better for the day time.  It's still sedating, but less so.

If I could afford an air purifier, that would be the next thing to get for me.  I am also quite allergic to dust--like off the scale any time the allergist tests me.  Anything to reduce the dust load would have to be an improvement.  The place I live in is as old as I am.  For an apartment building, that's old.  Old buildings are always dusty.  Since there is no option to move, an air cleaner would be ideal--if I could afford that.

Yeah, I'm not getting rid of my kitty either, even though I am mildly allergic to her.  I think she is even allergic to the dust.  And, I do my best to keep the floors clean--especially out of consideration for her.
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