I had a sinus cold recently and went to my local drug store for a decongestant. The pharmacist, kindly offering to assist, inquired as to any medications I might be taking before making her recommendation. I told her I take daily medication for high blood pressure and she advised that the only decongestant I could take, that wouldn’t conflict with my medication, was a nasal spray.

That surprised me because I’ve taken oral decongestants in the past and no one ever told me it could spike my blood pressure, so I bought it, but I wasn’t too excited at the prospect of shoving something up my nose. She also mentioned that nasal sprays can be highly addictive and advised I should only use it for 3 days at a time. (Wow, addiction to a nasal spray, really? Weird!)

I waited a few days hoping my cold would improve but it didn’t so I stood in the bathroom, spray at the ready. Following the instructions, I tilted my head back, rammed it up my nose and gave it 3 good squirts. Then I gagged. This was really gross but I was halfway there so I repeated the process on the other side. Then I gagged some more. (Ok, people get ‘addicted’ to this,,,are you kidding me? It’d be like an addiction to an enema!) Who comes up with this stuff? (And who would like it enough to become addicted? Jeeez!)

It got me to thinking about medication in general and I suppose I’m lucky I don’t have any illnesses that require the consistent administering of drugs. People with diabetes have to prick their finger to test their sugars, and/or inject themselves regularly with insulin (now personally, I’d sooner take an injection before I cram something up my nasal cavity again!) but where it’s a part of their daily routine, I guess they simply learn to live with it, and its’ side effects. I suspect bruising would be an issue but that’s a small price to pay for good health. Do they suffer any other ill effects?

You see ads on tv all the time for a new drug. This wonder drug will stop heartburn in its’ tracks BUT the side effects are headache, nausea, diarrhea, heart palpitations, swelling of the glands, muscle spasms, stomach cramps, hair loss, insomnia, loss of appetite, and in rare cases possible stroke and/or sudden death. (Wow. Wouldn’t it be better to just drink a glass of club soda and let out a good belch?) You’ll note most of these drugs, when Googled, are not yet approved for general use by the FDA, so it’s baffling that they would be made available to the public, but they are, as long as they list the potential side effects. (Who takes the time to read those risks?)

Even ‘approved’ medications come with issues. Many antibiotics cause allergic reactions, rash, and/or stomach discomfort, but when you have an infection, they’re your only choice. For those with more serious illness and where so many medications are largely chemical, it’s easy to see where our bodies would or could, react negatively to them. We weren’t designed to ingest chemicals. On the other hand, look at how much longer we’re living? We can keep people living longer on pills, pipes, and hoses, but is it worth it?

I think it’s safe to say that natural remedies, where possible, are your best bet. If you have diarrhea, eat a block of cheese. Constipated? Eat prunes. Flu? Rest. Head cold? Get a vaporizer, drink lots of fluids, and rest. Got pain? Pop a couple of generic pain relievers and get a heating pad. In short, stop whining already, cause if these are the only ailments you have to contend with, you’re lucky. Those suffering with serious illness have no choice but to take medications that will, on one hand, save their life, but on the other, potentially compromise the quality of it.

I consider myself lucky to have good health and I try to avoid taking medications unless absolutely necessary. You might say I’m drug averse. I’m also a wimp, so I poured that nasal spray down the drain and bought myself the oral decongestant. It’s worth a slight spike in my blood pressure to keep foreign objects out of my nasal cavity!


One thought on “Medications

  1. Interesting perspective, Emily.

    Poking the nasal spray up my nose isn’t something I think much about, given I’ve had to use one for years and years (since 1982 or earlier). Prescribed nasal sprays don’t have a 3 day duration rule – they’re to be used for the long haul (i.e. years).

    If it’s a part of a cold (vs. part of an ongoing allergy), I’d still use the nasal spray (e.g. Otrivin) rather than decongestant pills but that’s just me. If the congestion is part of the allergenic reaction, then you shouldn’t use either off-the-shelf pills/sprays, to my knowledge. You would have to get something prescribed (likely a spray).


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