Will taking a decongestant raise your blood pressure?\nBefore you reach for cold, flu, or allergy relief at the drugstore, it\u2019s important to learn how decongestants, a common ingredient in many over-the-counter medicines, can affect your heart rate and blood pressure.\nWhat Is a Decongestant?\nWhen you have a cold, allergies, or sinus trouble, the membranes in your nose, sinuses, and chest can swell and block the flow of air. This makes you feel stuffy or congested.\nA decongestant is a kind of medicine that helps shrink the blood vessels in these membranes, lowering the swelling and helping you breathe easier.\nDecongestants are found in many kinds of cold, flu, sinus, and allergy medicines, but not all. To find out if the medicine you want to take has a decongestant in it, look at the drug facts label on the package. This label will show the names of all the active ingredients in the medicine and their purpose. Even if you don\u2019t have high blood pressure or a heart problem, it\u2019s a good idea to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you take a new kind of medicine.\nDecongestants and High Blood Pressure\nDecongestants are similar to adrenaline, a hormone that helps you fight or flee from danger in times of stress.\nAdrenaline opens your airways, causes your blood vessels to shrink, and moves more blood to your heart and lungs. This makes your heart beat faster and causes your blood pressure to go up.\nBecause decongestants act like adrenaline, they can also raise your blood pressure and pulse. You should not use decongestants if you have:\n\nHigh blood pressure\nHeart disease\nAn irregular heartbeat\n\nFinding Relief Without Decongestants\nIf you\u2019re not able to take decongestants because of your blood pressure, talk to your doctor about other ways to find relief. Your doctor may suggest:\n\nTaking medicines that do not contain decongestants but can still help relieve your symptoms\nDrinking plenty of fluids like water, tea, juice, and soup\nUsing a saline nasal spray to flush out your sinuses\nGetting enough rest, and taking it easy with your activities\nUsing a cool-mist humidifier to make the air in your home moist\n\nTo learn more, visit the\u00a0UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute\u00a0or call\u00a01-855-UPMC-HVI (876-2484).